Have you ever needed a second chance? You blew it and deserved whatever consequences were coming your way. We have all been there to one degree or another, and you are definitely not alone.
Long ago, there was a woman who had done something very wrong…she committed adultery. To make matters more complicated, the religious leaders in her area found and dragged her to the place that would bring the most public shame to her. They brought her to the Temple, the most holy place of worship for the people of her faith in that day. When she arrived, she saw that she was not the only person of interest in that moment. A Teacher was there, too, and the religious leaders seemed to be trying to corner Him and catch Him in His words. The woman quickly saw that they were using her as the bait that would lead this Man into their trap.
She must have felt so used! She was the pawn in their hands to discredit the Teacher when they said, “We caught this woman committing adultery. Our Law says that she should be stoned to death. What do You say?” Not only was she caught by the religious leaders, now they were announcing before crowds what she had done. Embarrassment, shame and fear probably overran her heart. Would she die soon?
But the Teacher then did a most peculiar thing; He stooped down and began to write in the dirt. He paused, said, “He who is without sin cast the first stone at her,” then continued writing. I am sure the crowd could have heard a pin drop in that moment as the religious leaders became silent, not knowing what to say. Slowly, one by one, the woman’s accusers left, until she was alone with the wise Teacher. What was He going to do now? “Where are your accusers? Is there anyone to condemn you?” He asked. “No one,” she responded. The words that came out His mouth next would change her forever. “Neither do I condemn you. Go and leave your life of sin.” She was given a second chance.
You may not have committed adultery, but I am sure you have sinned in some way at some point in your life. You did wrong and maybe that sin continues to eat at you. The Accuser of your soul, Satan, drags you before God and says, “See! I caught this one! He/she is guilty! Your Scripture says that the payment for sin is death! What do You say?!” The condemnation is heaped on you and fear invades your being. “Will God forgive me?” or will He say, ‘Not this time! You blew it.’” Suddenly His eyes, full of grace, mercy and compassion, turn to you. And what comes next can change your life forever. Instead of the Divine hammer, He offers you a gift, the gift of a new beginning, a second chance. He lays before you the opportunity to have a clean slate.
He does not condone your sin or say, “It was no big deal.” He knows it was bad, deserving of death in the context of an absolutely pure and holy God. But He offers to take your guilt onto Himself, to die for you. He proposes forgiveness, if you will only turn yourself over to Him and receive the gift freely given that cost Him so much. You cannot change your past or what you have done, but the charges can be dropped. What will you do?
Lord Jesus, I look at myself and see that I am guilty,
deserving whatever consequences might come my way.
But when I look at You, I see mercy and compassion in Your eyes.
You offer me a clean slate and a new beginning.
I give myself to You, and receive Your gift of forgiveness.
By Your grace and power, I will endeavor to live rightly.
When I find myself having tripped in some way again,
I will be right here, back at Your feet.
Thank You for intervening in my life.
I pray this in Your name, amen.