During our first year of marriage Mike and I had a deep and painful argument. I honestly do not remember how it began or what it was about, but I was very upset and so was he. I remember we both wanted to have our own way. I was cold and calculating. I spoke with no regard to my words and the potential damage they caused. I felt right and that colored everything I said. Mike tried to draw me into a reconciling hug and I resisted. I left the house and began walking down the street determined to get away.
I was about half of a mile down the road when I heard a car begin to slow as it came up behind me. My defenses elevated but as soon as the car stopped I heard Mike say, “I’m sorry. I know you are upset, and I am a little too. But I still love you very much. Won’t you get in the car and come home with me?”
I wanted to stay upset, but my heart began to melt as he risked offering his love and forgiveness to me. I knew I was still very much valued and loved. He had seen me at my worst and loved me anyway!
I wonder if this is a little of how Mary Magdalene felt after being stripped of her dignity, dragged half naked into the synagogue and dumped in the middle of Jesus’ lesson study. (John 8:1-12) After being deceived, humiliated, and knowing she was guilty, Jesus leveled the field and brought each one in the group to the knowledge of their need for a Savior. Her accusers found themselves disqualified to carry out the punishment. But Jesus, the only one who had the right to punish this guilty woman said, “I do not condemn you. Go and sin no more.”
This is an amazing picture of the love and forgiveness of our Jesus! A love that recognizes the truth of sin, but chooses to withhold judgment. Jesus never condoned or encouraged her adultery. If fact, He told her to never do it again. What Jesus gave her was a clean slate on which to write a new and improved story for herself. He knew she could not keep from sinning again on her own, but if she would allow herself to remain in His presence, she would have access to a power that would help her stay away from the old lifestyle and resist temptation. How liberating! That is the key to our success as well. Jesus must be our constant companion and friend, providing us the pardon, power, opportunity, and desire to live for Him. We are desperately in need of His presence!
Because Mike extended his love and forgiveness to me when I did not deserve it, I felt warmth and healing surge through my heart. We began a conversation and were committed to learn better ways of handling our differences. Soon we could smile, hug, and leave the argument behind.
Because Jesus extends His love and forgiveness to us, we have the opportunity to grow and be transformed, experiencing new desires and victory over temptation as we dwell in His presence. He has seen us at our worst, and loves us anyway.
Juanita Edge, Communication Director