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by Grace Bellingham
What do you say to someone who cries out for mercy–who wants to be forgiven? What do you say to one whose heart is broken by their sin – who wants to be cleansed? What do you say to someone who is bound by unseen forces, really bound, by forces that entered their lives long before they were even aware of their existence? What do you say to that one’s longing to be free?
Do you make them feel more the fool for allowing you a glimpse of their life-long pain, the torment of their soul? Do you rear back in horror or make a display of shock and unbelief? Or maybe we just shake our head and look at them with sorrow for the obvious choices that they made that have brought them to such a place of despair and destruction. No, maybe you reiterate their shame and treat them like anathema.
Well, I have a question for you. What would Jesus do? What would He say? How would He respond?
To the woman caught in adultery, [in the very act I might add] He faced her accusers and said, “You who have no sin cast the first stone”. To the leper He said, “I am willing…” To the demon possessed man in the Gaderines, a man so demonized that he was like an animal that could not be chained or caged, He said, “Be free, be whole, live a life that I give you”.
What did He say to the whore who fell at His feet seeking what He said He offered? He said, “To her who has been forgiven much, loves much”. To the ones who accused Him, tore His beard from His face, beat the flesh from His back, humiliated and shamed Him, then hung Him on a cruel cross in nakedness and shame, He said, “Father forgive them they don’t know what they are doing…”.
So, what would I say to them? These who have come seeking answers, seeking help, seeking forgiveness, seeking freedom, seeking some kind of hope?
I would say Jesus. Jesus has all that you are looking for. He loves those who hope in His mercy. He forgives those who call upon His Name. He helps those who fall. He delivers those who are bound. He loves and comforts those who are broken. He places His gentle hands on those who are unclean. He is generous and kind to the mean and the hateful. He is ready to forgive, He is ready to save, He is ready to cleanse, He is our Savior, our Deliverer, our Counselor, our Shepherd, our Prince of peace, He is….
Are you hopeless? He is the God of hope, He came to give you hope.
Are you fearful? He is love and His love casts out all fear.
Are you bound? He came to set the captives free. He is the Mighty Deliverer. He disarmed principalities and powers, they cannot resist Him.
Are you ashamed? He is the lover of your soul. He took our shame to the cross – it was crucified forever with Him.
Are you hurting? He is the God of all comfort. He will take you under His wing and restore your heart.
For all who come for help – He waits with open arms to pour out on them all that they need to set them free. For all who have come to me for help or guidance or hope, I led them to Jesus, the One Who died for them. It was never my responsibility to make a judgment, only to lead them to Jesus – to the truth that would set them free. For mercy we come and by His grace, it is mercy we receive.
“Thank You God, Your mercy endures forever.”
He didn’t come to condemn, He came to forgive. To stand in condemnation of yourself or others puts the power in your hands, to forgive puts the power in God’s hands. The One Who came to forgive was condemned for us. Who are we to condemn one for whom Christ died in their stead?
Shame on you Christian, if you are one to condemn one who Christ died to forgive.