From Pastor Ken
Have you ever felt guilt and shame?
A woman is caught in sin, used as a pawn in religious games by the religious leaders of Jesus’ day. She is paraded before a crowd and before Jesus with her sin and condemnation announced publicly. (John 8:1-11)
This one episode from the Scriptures exposes the brokenness of mankind in two ways:
- A life of religious pride, which sees no need for personal change (as demonstrated by the Pharisees and Scribes);
- A life of guilt and shame which feels unworthy of love and forgiveness (as demonstrated by the woman caught in adultery).
Jesus responded to the pride of the religious leaders by reminding them in one simple statement that they too have sinned: “let he who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”
Jesus responded to the woman caught in adultery by asking a very important question: where are your accusers? When she realized that those who had previously held a condemning sentence against her had walked away, Jesus then spoke those words that announce freedom to us all: neither do I condemn you.” It is as if Jesus said, I am the only one who stands over you as judge, but I say you are not condemned. Jesus then sent her forward to live a life free from sin.
I really want you to get this!
While the Scriptures remain silent on how the woman responded, we know that several days later, when Jesus died on the cross, forgiveness of sin and a life made brand new became possible through faith in Jesus Christ.
Lewis Smedes, in his book Shame and Grace, recognizes the distinction between shame and guilt: a person feels guilt because a person did something wrong; a person feels shame because a person thinks he or she is something wrong. Smedes will admit that these two actually overlap at times. But, the point is this:
if you feel you are something so wrong that Jesus cannot help, or if you feel you have done something so wrong Jesus cannot help, I announce to you today that Jesus came to take away your guilt and shame.
He didn’t just make them vanish; He died to take away your guilt and shame. Although He was completely perfect and innocent, He bore your sin and shame on the cross. And He gladly did this so that you and I could be forgiven, freed and made new.
Don’t allow guilt and shame to get the best of you. Trust Jesus.
Can you imagine living everyday free from the burden of regret, the oppression of shame, and the perpetual struggle against the condemning feeling of guilt?
This is what Jesus desires for you; I will be sharing a sermon on this reality this Sunday, May 20th, at the outdoor service at King’s Grant Baptist. I look forward to seeing you there.