The Stone UnThrown

 “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her,” (John 8:7 NIV).

Here’s the Story rewound: “What are we going to do with this Jesus,” the chief priest asked the group. “He is going about healing people left and right. Everywhere I go the buzz is about Jesus. It’s Jesus this, and Jesus that. And the crowds are calling him the Messiah! Everyone knows that the Messiah will not come from Galilee. If we don’t get rid of him, we are going to have an insurrection on our hands.”

“And ever since the buzz about him multiplying a few loaves and fish to feed over 5,000 people has circulated, his followers have multiplied as well. He must be stopped.”

“I have an idea,” Lucius responded with a gleam in his eye. “I happen to know a certain married man who is sleeping with his mistress at this very moment. I happened to see him slink into her house last night.”

And as the hard-hearted Pharisees gathered round, a spiteful plan to trick Jesus began to unfold.

The sun was just peeking through the securely locked shutters of Morah’s bedroom window.  The predawn stillness was broken only by the songs of early rising birds floating on the breeze.  Morah was a tangle of sheets, arms and legs as the man she loved lay sleeping beside her.

“Oh, Zachariah,” she whispered as her fingertips brushed a stray lock of hair from his closed eyes.  “If only you weren’t married. I know this is wrong, but I love you so. And I have to believe you when you say you love me as well. We are risking our very lives with these frequent trysts.”

Morah’s musings were suddenly interrupted by a banging on the door.

“Open up!” the gruff voice demanded.

“Who is there?” Morah cried as she scrambled to find her robe.

“Open up or we’ll break the door down.”

“What’s all the commotion,” Zachariah mumbled as he groggily sat up in bed.  “What’s going on?”

Before Morah could even think to answer, the angry mob of religious men broke through the simple lock and into the lovers’ hideaway.

“What is the meaning of this?” Zachariah barked. “What do you think you are doing?”

“What do you think you are doing, my friend,” the Pharisee countered. “That is the real question here.”

“Morah, daughter of Omar, you are under arrest for adultery under the Law of Moses!” the moral police spat.  “Get dressed and come with me.”

The Pharisee tossed Morah her night robe, but failed to turn his head as she slipped her trembling frame from the cover of the sheets and into the thin cloak. He grabbed her by the arm and began dragging her to the door.

“Where are you taking me?” she cried.

“You’ll find out soon enough,” the Pharisee growled.

“What about Zachariah?” the youngest man of the group inquired.

“Just leave him,” the Pharisee replied.  “We don’t need him.”

“Why don’t you go back to your wife where you belong,” the Pharisee called over his shoulder as the group left the room. And with that, the conspiring mob continued their trek to the temple with the half-clad trembling woman in tow. Two men flanked the weeping woman on either side, dragging her through the early morning hustle and bustle of the city. The bait was hooked, and now it was time to reel in the catch.

Like mice following the Pied Piper, a curious stream of townsfolk joined the parade.  Jesus was already teaching in the courtyard with a group gathered at his feet. As always, Jesus’ message and miracles drew large crowds. A distant rumble interrupted his gentle teaching as the angry mob and curious crowd approached. They marched right into the inner circle of the classroom and thrust the woman at the Master’s feet.

Morah’s unbound hair fell around her bare shoulders and fluttered in the early morning breeze.  Her shame-filled eyes stayed riveted on the earthen floor, refusing to meet Jesus’ gaze. Then one of the men pulled her to her feet and displayed her for all to see.

She didn’t need to look at the man before her. She recognized his voice. It was Jesus.

“Teacher,” the pious Pharisee began, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The Law of  Moses commands us to stone such a woman. Now what do you say?”

Jesus didn’t look at the woman’s half-clad body as the others openly gawked. He looked into her soul.

Morah lifted her eyes and looked into the face of love.  What do I detect in his gaze? She thought to herself. It wasn’t contempt, disgust, or condemnation, but rather compassion, concern, and pure, unadulterated love. Somehow she knew that this was the look she had been searching for her entire life.

As Morah listened to the Pharisee’s question, she understood Jesus’ dilemma. If he set her free, the Pharisees would accuse him of ignoring the Law of Moses and deem him a heretic.  If he sentenced her to death by stoning, then his teachings of grace and forgiveness would be negated.

The religious leaders already held the stones in their clenched fists, anticipating his reply. Their hearts were as hard as the rocks they held in their hands. But rather than give a quick answer, Jesus moved his gaze from the trembling woman and stooped to the ground.  With his finger, the very hand of God-made-man, he began writing in the dirt.  A frigid chill swept through the Pharisees pious robes. Suddenly they felt the rawness of naked exposure as Jesus’ eyes looked up at each of them and without a word, uncloaked their sinful thoughts and desires. With one look from Jesus, they stood soul bare and more exposed than the half-dressed woman before them.

Everyone held their breath. The silence was deafening. The tension was palpable. Finally, Jesus rose and delivered the verdict.

“If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”

Then Jesus squatted once again and continued to write.

One-by-one the Pharisees unclenched their fists, dropped the stones, and filtered through the crowd. The older men who had accumulated a longer list of sins turned to leave first, with the younger ones not far behind.

The remaining crowd listened closely as the drama continued to unfold.  After the last of the Pharisees cleared the scene, Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are your accusers?  Has no one condemned you?”

“No one, sir,” she replied.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

The woman turned to leave, but not before picking up a discarded stone to take with her.

“To remember,” she whispered.

 Let’s Pray

Dear Lord, this story of Your great mercy and grace takes my breath away. Just to think that the only person qualified to throw the stone was the very One who set her free. Help me to always remember that You have forgiven me of my sins. Help me to drop the stones I so quickly pick up to cast at others and extend to them the same grace You have extended to me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 Now It’s Your Turn

I hope your heart was stirred with the re-telling of this amazing story. We don’t know the woman’s name. I have simply called her Morah so we can paint a picture of a real woman with a real problem in our minds. Now let me ask a few questions…

When is the last time you held a rock of condemnation in your hand? Not a real rock, but a judgmental attitude?

When is the last time you acted like the Pharisees who were so quick to condemn?

Who do you want to be like, Jesus who showed grace and forgiveness, or the Pharisees who wanted to give her what she deserved?

If you can remember a time when Jesus showed you the same mercy and grace, leave a comment and tell why you thank Jesus for the stone unthrown.

Want More? 

Today’s devotion was taken from my book, What God Really Thinks about Women: Finding Your Significance through the Women Jesus Encountered. We tend to read the gospels with our twenty-first century eyes.  But when we understand how oppressive the culture Jesus stepped into was against women, we begin to understand just how radical Jesus’ ministry, messages, and miracles were at setting women free. He risked His reputation to save theirs…and yours.

I am so passionate about this book, I’m giving away the Bible study guide free to all my blog readers  who order the book this week – July 5-11 only.  All you have to do is email me that you’ve ordered the book on my website, and I’ll include the Bible Study guide for free.

 

63 Responses to The Stone UnThrown

  1. Nonyelum Okechukwu July 5, 2012 at 8:00 am #

    I thank Jesus for loving me: I am born again and have the most wonderful friend for a husband. I know because I have looked for love in the most humiliating places, disillusion and death stared me in the face but your love brought me to this secure place where I now live by your Name and Word.
    Thank you so very much Lord.

    • Debra Friedman July 6, 2012 at 1:39 am #

      Dear Sharon…

      I have been the woman caught in bad relationship after bad relationship…This last time I was warned by the Holy Spirit, friends, and many others, and I just didn’t want to listen. It almost destroyed me, but God in His mercy and grace was with me every step of the way to supernaturally put me back together…. Without His love and mercy, I have no doubt I would not be here today… I am grateful for friends who have prayed with me, stood with me, and most of all for Jesus, who is my husband. .I was waiting all along for a relationship where I would be someone’s world…In Jesus becoming my world, I have the husband I have always wanted…There will never be another one like Him.. Thank you Father for the gift of your Son…

  2. thandi July 5, 2012 at 8:51 am #

    Dear Sharon

    Thank you for today’s devotion, Jesus used it to show me my sin and set me free from it. I was the Pharisee holding a stone ready to throw it at the woman who had an affair with my husband.I felt entitled and justified to this because of what she had done to my marriage and my children. I was full of hatred and bitterness towards this woman and I wanted revenge and the wrath of God to fall upon her. I have left my stone on the ground, forgiven her and left the scene just like the Pharisees because I do not qualify to cast a stone on her as I am not without sin myself.

    Thank you Jesus for forgiving me for this sin and setting me free from it.

  3. omosigho July 5, 2012 at 8:55 am #

    His daily load of mercy, particularly when i don’t seem to be able to meet up with my daily devotions

  4. Quiltspinner July 5, 2012 at 11:03 am #

    I was in Christian counseling and not getting anywhere because of fear of being known, hidden judgements. The question was asked why I was so afraid. My response seemed so paltry in my eyes I was ashamed to answer. Finally, God broke through, gave me courage. Thinking with my human mind how awful I would sound I finally said, ” I judged my pastors wife.”. There it was said. I knew I would be condemned as a terrible person for judging this hard to love, prickly person. Then suddenly, there was this incredible lightness and lifting of the weight on my sin. Instead of condemnation was freedom, love, gentleness, and understanding.
    I know this story seems so insignificant, but to me was a breakthrough to receiving Gods love in a personal way. For 26 years I had been a Christian but had never known His forgiveness in such a profound way. The impact of that day has never left me. Most of my life I have judged and felt judged. To be able to apply grace to others and see beyond their sin ( or my own) has changed the way I think about everything. How incredible is our God. No wonder we sing His praises and want to tell other hurting people about His grace and forgiveness.

    • Sharon July 5, 2012 at 2:12 pm #

      Life is so much easier and lighter when we don’t carry those stones in our hands. I’m excited for you!

  5. Ann Onymous July 5, 2012 at 11:16 am #

    Well written, thank you for that. Where I personally always struggle is when we as Christians sin, knowing it is wrong. I know His grace is sufficient, but there’s so many times where I feel unworthy of His constant forgiveness. Each time I sin, I’m like there’s no way that He can forgive me for this AGAIN. At what point do we run away instead of towards the sin? It’s so gripping and the flesh is so hard overcome without His power. But admittedly, there are times where I fall and I feel so ashamed. I don’t want to take advantage of His grace and forgiveness. Just seems like a never ending cycle. And isn’t there a verse by Paul that talks about how Christians who sin knowingly are worse than those that don’t the truth? I’m always riddled with guilt and I’ll repent, and turn away from the sin but it always just keeps drawing me back in.

  6. Lindsay K. July 5, 2012 at 12:06 pm #

    He walks with me,
    Sees the stones I miss,
    Some that others have thrown at me,
    and some I’ve brought upon myself.

    He tries to lead me around,
    but if my stubborn ways persist,
    or my blindness misleads,
    He catches me when I fall,
    and sets me on the right path again,
    He shows me love.

    When I made probably not the best decision to pursue a hobby out of state rather than focus on my studies this quick summer semester, following promises that “everything would be taken care of” though I could not ensure this situation or its solutions were something to go wrong myself, something happened outside my control, and I almost failed an important test. Jesus gave me the grace to complete the test, but I am reminded that when I step outside the clear path He has indicated for me, there is so much I can’t even account for.

    Reading this story reminds me that, though people may actually be justified in throwing the stones, God can restore someone through His grace and help them to see maybe what they can’t see and show them the beautiful way.

  7. Sarah July 5, 2012 at 12:07 pm #

    I was that woman, I had been sleeping with a married (separated) man. God opened my eyes to the truth and I had one set back where I returned to that sin but because God showed me the truth, sin lost it’s desire and I saw it for what it was. I’ve asked God to forgive me for my sins. Reading this today is his answer. He does forgive me. I ask Him now to fill that void of never having a father. I was adopted and even he was not there for me. The only father I know is God. Please pray for me to be strong in the Lord and to have that void filled in my life. Thank you

    • Sharon July 5, 2012 at 2:08 pm #

      He does want to fill every empty nook and cranny of your heart.

  8. Shelley July 5, 2012 at 12:26 pm #

    So many struggle from cancer and other horrible diseases, yet God chose me to be healed of my cancer. I am so undeserving and so grateful! Thank you, Jesus, for not casting the stone of terminable disease my way.

  9. Linda Lee Steaples July 5, 2012 at 12:43 pm #

    I was verbally & sexually abused as a child and I lived the victim life till 41 yrs old, I became a drunk and overweight I tried to hide all of my pain in anything I could nothing ever worked for me… Till one day I heard this voice and I felt the weight of a very very heavy hand but with such gentleness on the back of my head & the voice said you don’t have to live like this you are mine and I will give you all you need… OMGOSH I HAVE HAD THE MOST AWESOME 8 ALMOST 9 YEARS OF MY LIFE GETTING TO KNOW & LOVE GOD, JESUS, THE HOLY SPIRIT!!!!! THANKS LINDA

    • Sharon July 5, 2012 at 2:07 pm #

      Praise God! What an incredible story!

  10. Robin July 5, 2012 at 12:44 pm #

    Awesome, awesome recreation of the story. I could not help but filled moved in my spirit. Only the Holy-spirit could have given you such inspiration. Girlfriends in God has been of so much help and comfort. I look forward to every morning.

    God bless you.

  11. mary munoz July 5, 2012 at 12:44 pm #

    GOD BLESS U SISTER! My heavenly Father has forgiven me so much that I now live to work for His Kingdom. I once was lost, blind and deaf! I lived in the devil’s dumpster. Thanks to my LORD & SAVIOR I have been clean and sober for 3 1/2 yrs. now I was a prostitute with a serious cocaine, sex, alcohol n marijuana addiction for 23yrs but thanks to JESUS CHRIST I was set free. I am living proof that GOD does exist is alive n working in any and all who will accept HIM in your heart. My change came about in a matter of 1 weeks time. For HIS glory n honor i’ve given my testimony in front of hundreds n on 4 christian radio station on the internet too. THANK U HOLY SPIRIT FOR YOUR HOLY PRESENCE IN MY LIFE EVERYDAY. John 15:16 says that JESUS chooses us we don’t choose HIM. I’m grateful n thankful that HE chose me to live inside of. I am forever in debt to HIM FOR THE ULTIMATE PRICE HE paid for me. My kids are also thankful to HIM and they show it in their way of life honor roll students humble teenagers no bad words, they donate to help other kids, the are carriers of the good news. They are: 18, 17, 14, even my grandson learned to pray already. PRAISE GOD FOR HE STOPPED THE STONE!!!

    • Sharon July 5, 2012 at 2:06 pm #

      I’m sooooo excited for you! I’d love to hear your testimony. Do you have it written down? Can you email it to me at sharon@localhost/sjold?

  12. Devon July 5, 2012 at 12:49 pm #

    Like the old hymn song, Love Lifted Me. ‘ I was sinking deep in sin far from the peaceful shore, very deeply stained with sin sinking to rise no more, but the Master of the sea heard my cried from the waters He lifted me!” I thank God He still Lifts me by His love and loves me. I was so deep in sin that I did not realize it was Jesus who I longed to be loved by. His LOVE can lift you up and we need to be lifting people up. Love Lifts People up and His Love Lifts me up!

    • Sharon July 5, 2012 at 2:05 pm #

      Love that song! I’m sining it right now!

  13. Michelle July 5, 2012 at 1:16 pm #

    I was totally in love with this story until you asked the question who am I ready to judge. My mind immediately flashed to the woman that my husband had a 3 year affair with. I have so much anger and (honestly yes though I don’t like to admit it) hate for his woman. Though I know my husband is equally as guilty, I am deeply hurt by the way that their actions have changed my family!! It has taken some time to forgive my husband. I believe it was easier to forgive him because I love him and wanted to salvage our relationship. This woman is so much harder to forgive!! To me she has only a name, not a face. She has not asked for forgiveness- though I know that certainly is not a requirement, she hasn’t confessed much less apologized – again I know, not a requirement. I know that God has forgiven my for my sins and I am trying to forgive this woman as well. It is just so hard!!! I pray that my feelings about her will by released – never to return!!! I pray that I will be able to completely forgive her sooner than later!!!

    • Sharon July 5, 2012 at 2:04 pm #

      I know that must be so hard. But here is the thing about unforgiveness. It holds us captive. It is like taking poison and waiting for someone else to die. Forgiveness is setting a prisoner free and realizing the prisoner is you. Now, I know these are nice little sayings… true sayings. However, I still know if is hard. But unforgiveness just makes you tired, doesn’t it? You might find some help with letting go in my book, Your Scars are Beautiful to God.

  14. Ester Smith July 5, 2012 at 2:07 pm #

    Lord I ask you to please forgive me for the the rocks I’ve held in my hand and thrown over the years. I’m so thankful to you that even though I’v been guilty, you covered me and my sin on many numerous occasions, you did not leave expose me to the tactics of the enemy.

  15. Natalie July 5, 2012 at 2:08 pm #

    It is so true…it is so easy to cast the stones at sinners when you are a sinner yourself. When you begin to pass judgements on other people without knowing them, you are the first one sinning. After going through some stuff in my life, I am the first one to say Never say Never ….. You never know why people do what they do or what they’re going through that makes them act a certain way and sometimes unfortunately, you have to go through a hardship to really understand. It felt very comforting to read this story and know that God will forgive me of my sins…praise God…

  16. Kimberly July 5, 2012 at 2:10 pm #

    The story brought me to tears this morning. To be reminded of God’s grace and love for me as a sinner was a reminder of the grace I need to have for others. I have been hearing several messages over the last couple of days regarding the need to overcome shame and letting go of past mistakes. I feel that God is convicting to me to not only let go of rocks of condemnation toward others but also rocks directed at me. I want to be like Jesus and demonstrate grace toward others as well as myself!

  17. Stacey July 5, 2012 at 2:12 pm #

    Sharon, thank you for your daily words of wisdom, encouragement, and truth. Reading your message for today reminded me of a troubling time I had in while in college. It was my freshman year and I was a “part-time” self-proclaimed Christian. All I went to school for was to party, drink, and do all the things I couldn’t do if I was home with the supervision of my parents. It was rare to see me doing school work. I focused on school on Mondays and Tuesdays, but partied Wednesday through Sunday. However I would tell my parents “Oh school is great” “my grades are fine” “I am progressing” “college is fun, it’s not hard”, just telling all lies when i really knew that I was failing, progressing in one class and not focused on school as much as I was focused on getting outfits and things together to party. Of course I was young and dumb and didn’t take into account that my grades would show that I was telling lies to my parents. My grades came in Christmas Eve and the highest grade I go was a C in one class, the rest of my classes were D’s and F’s. Needless to say I ended up on academic probation because I had a GPA of less than 1.0. My parents were disappointed, said I was being deceitful, and didn’t want anything to do with me. The following semester I tried to get better grades by not partying as much as I did and got involved in a bible fellowship group which did help me to bring my grades up a little but not enough to take me off of academic probation. My parents were even more disappointed and were considering pulling me out of school because I “wasn’t college material” “deceitful” and “a waste of time”. Although those were hurtful and discouraging things I never gave up. I prayed to God every day, read my bible, fasted on the situation, and asked God for his love that I needed since I wasn’t getting it home. After a few months of doing that continuously, God would tell me “Stay encouraged” “you are my daughter whom I will not fail” “i love you” “don’t let those discourages words get to you” “you will find a way to get back into school on the right path” “remember what you read”, all loving, caring, and compassionate things. Yes I would cry about it but I would remember that I was a child of God and “he will never leave me nor forsake me” (Deuteronomy 31:6). Now don’t get me wrong, I love my parents to death, and still do, but God’s love is soo much greater! Less than a month before the fall semester was to start I got a call from the Academic Affairs office notifying me that I was readmitted into the university. Praise God! I couldn’t have been any happier that day. Not only did God allow me to go back to school, he revealed to me that I was clearly in the wrong major (which was Computer Science). I switched my major to Communication Arts with a track in Human Communications, where I excelled beyond everyone’s, including my own, expectations. I was getting nothing below a 3.0 GPA for the semesters I was there before I graduated. I sometimes reflect on how God blessed me so much that year and why he gave me another chance. Towards my last year, and even during my last year, I met so many people who were going through the same troubles I went through their freshman year. I would share my story with them, just as I am here, and tell them “first get into a good bible study group and get to know God because without him I wouldn’t be here speaking to you today”. I became a mentor for many, met my now Christian brothers and sisters, found a great church home for while I was away at school, and joined a liturgical dance time. I praise God for everything I have overcame thus far and know that nothing can be against me while I have God’s grace on my life. By the grace of God I can now say I AM A SALISBURY UNIVERSITY ALUMNI AND I COULDN’T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT THE GRACE OF GOD!

    • Sharon July 5, 2012 at 2:15 pm #

      Yours is a story all girls going off to college needs to hear!

      • Stacey July 5, 2012 at 2:30 pm #

        Yes I have shared it with many high school graduates, both males and females. My high school band teacher asked me to deliver a message to his students because as young people we don’t want to hear adults telling us what to expect we think “oh they are exaggerating”, which is why he asked me (a young adult just like his soon to be high school gradates” to talk to him. They were very please, I pray to God that they are doing successful now. Thank you Sharon for your commitment to giving me (as well as the other girlfriends) an uplifting message daily. I thank God for a wonderful woman like you!

  18. Monis July 5, 2012 at 2:16 pm #

    I felt the plight of people in jail convicted of crimes they have not done!!! I felt bitter for a friend I trusted but now was framing me of stealing a camera! I knew nothing about!!! Instantly, I remembered GOD’s promise that He cannot leave me nor forsake me in times of trial and tribulations and I extended my dissappointment and pain to him.I said “GOD I give all this misery to you and vengeance for people in my situation should only come from you” . The next day GOD came to my rescue, a colleaque revealed that the same person had hidden the camera in her office to spite another colleaque who needed to use the camera.This issue had been pending for a whole year and i didn’t know that I had been labeled the culprit for the missing camera till the day I was confronted.
    The message of the stone unthrown brought about a disclosure that made me remember that we have to forgive,we have to remember that we sometimes do wrong to others especially GOD who always shows that he loves us and he forgives our sins and JESUS died for our sins.like we say “AS WE FORGIVE THOSE WHO TRESSPASS AGAINST US” when we pray.I therefore whole-heartedly thank you Sharon for the message for i am going to tell this person that i have forgiven her without any conditions.Amen!!!

  19. Robyn G July 5, 2012 at 2:56 pm #

    Thank you Jesus, that You do not judge the way I do. Thank you for the continual grace you extend my way!

    We are in month 6 of having a family of 6 living with us and it seems that I’m constantly shown the area where I’m holding MANY stones. I know this is only temporary until they get back on their feet.

    My husband and I have been where they are. We’ve made some of the same poor choices they’ve made and the Lord was (and is) ever so faithful to never have picked up a stone to throw at us. Now we’re on the other side and trying to walk in the same grace He extends to us.

    Thank you for the devotional today! It is something I’ll share with my husband and children as a loving reminder that He’s still in the middle of our story!

  20. jacqueline long July 5, 2012 at 3:08 pm #

    I thank God for His Mercy and forgiveness when I was married and I was throwing moral stones at my husband for his moral sins and refusing to consider forgiveness, tolerance but never forgiveness. I started this “Do unti Others ” trip to justify my starting my moral sins. My sins were hidden I thought, but I was wrong, I got caught. I justified my sins, to my surprise he forgave me years before I asked him. The Lord forgave me before I asked Him; He gave me merry because I did some dangerous stuff. I have by the Grace of God learned to give mercy and forgiveness to all whether they ask or not. The lady who had been caught in the act of adultery did not ask for mercy or forgiveness , but her heart said I want and need it. The Lord looked into her soul and had compassion on her. Let’s do like Jesus did.

  21. Robin July 5, 2012 at 3:57 pm #

    I was this woman. Sleeping with a married (separated) man. Feeling the guilt weigh upon myself. I was this woman sleeping with a single man who was not my husband. I was this woman seeking fulfillment in food. I had a baby out of marriage at the age of 17. I was this woman on so many occasions. God’s grace showers over me. The amazing thing is the married man called me this morning and I praise God that He has completely healed me concerning that situation and I have no desire to be with this man or have dealings with him. I then read your e-mail and was just amazed at the grace of the Lord. He delivers, loves and heals completely. So many times I have failed Him and turned to others and He never threw a stone at me. He just loved me and sent people who loved me and encouraged me. His desire for me to turn from sin was always clear and I now know it’s for my good. Now I sit and wait on the Lord that in His time He will bring my husband and I believe that as long as I feast upon Him that He will continue to keep me pure until I walk down that aisle. God bless you.

    Thank you for this.

  22. Natasha July 5, 2012 at 4:08 pm #

    When I was a young child, I was sexually abused by a neighbor. This created a really strong root of shame in me. From that moment on, I lost my innocence and carried around a feeling that I was a throw-away person — a bad person. It is decades later and I have two girls of my own. I have been following Jesus for 5 years and we are now getting to this root of shame. He’s revealed that it is based in my unforgiveness of myself for my own sins. I can’t seem to get past them. I feel they define me, and I was getting stuck in looking to other people (esp. if my sin involved them) to determine my self-worth. If they accepted me or showed me approval, then I was “okay”. If they didn’t accept me then I was “bad”. I understand now on a concious level that this is a problem because if I look to “man” instead of God, I will be in bondage. Jesus is helping me with this. Today’s story from you, Sharon, is actually the exact lesson He used to reveal to me that people are not perfect and have no right to judge me or determine my self worth. The only One Who does, chooses to forgive me — to accept me. This is very important for me to get, and a big revelation on my journey to self-acceptance. I am not perfect. I make big, messy mistakes. I choose my own way and I get in trouble. But when I turn back to God and repent and confess and point my heart back to Him, He sets me free, no matter what other people think. Praise God! And thank you.

  23. Eve July 5, 2012 at 4:10 pm #

    I also was that woman. I had been married for 10 years and committed adultery with a former partner.After confessing and repenting, the Lord allowed my husband to forgive me and He restored our marriage. That was 12 years ago and I am always reminded of God:s amazing love and faithfulness.

  24. Emily July 5, 2012 at 4:17 pm #

    I spent most of my teen and adolescent years a slave to sinful sexual relationships and drug abuse. I ran away from that voice that kept calling me to come to my Father and be forgiven. I grew up in church but never truly came to know who God really was. He was more of a punisher and the rule book keeper. I am so grateful that through is wonderful power and grace and most importantly His unconditional love, He reached out and plucked me from my sinful way of life. The years ahead were not easy as I kept returning to my brokeness and guilt and allowing it to hold me frozen in fear and self loathing for my past. But God continued to hold me in his arms and speak to me through His Word and through His people telling me who I was in Him and how He saw me as spotless and blameless covered in the blood of His Son! Only by His grace have I grown to a place of accepting his love and forgiveness. It is so easy now to look down on people who are living the life I used to live. It is so easy to forget the familiarness of what I see in those people. I pray that God would give me the understanding and wisdom and that He would soften my heart, to extend the same love and mercy He so graciously gave to me.

  25. Kim July 5, 2012 at 4:45 pm #

    I thank Jesus for saving me from my former self.
    Many years ago, i was in a very dark place. Living a life of the most horrible sin. Sexual immorality, witchcraft, running around. I lived for the moment, seeking pleasure in the darkest of places. I was lost and even though i was surrounded by a crowd of people much like myself, i felt alone. My search for happiness in the wrong places even took me to another country where even greater sin awaited me and an even deeper darkness.
    Jesus saw me in the dark, struggling, and reached out and pulled me into the light. At first it was painful, the light hurt and i was angry at Jesus for trying to pull me from the pit. I liked the pit! It was comfortable and i had convinced myself that i was happy there.
    Then i was assaulted at a party. Brutally and shamefully.
    God used that assault to bring me to my knees. He used it to make me realize what the dark and its so called pleasures were doing to me and to my eternal soul!
    On my knees i begged Jesus for forgiveness, i thanked Him for His mercy and His salvation and for saving me in so many ways!
    i was so full of sun, living such a sinful horrible life. It shames me now to think about how i was back then, but then i think about how Jesus never turned His back on me. Instead He reached out His hand and lifted me up from the dirt and told me to go and sin no more.
    i live a good life now, i have taken a vow of celibacy and my heart, mind, body and spirit belong to my Lord and Savior!
    Thank You Jesus for saving me from the dark.

  26. Candace July 5, 2012 at 5:20 pm #

    Praise God for your beautiful awesome gift of writing. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this devotional. Thank you!

  27. ABS July 5, 2012 at 5:21 pm #

    I’ve never done anything like this, so I almost don’t know where to begin. I feel like God is leading me to share my story so I can begin to break free from the punishment I give myself everyday. I don’t think it is a coincidence that I am in the middle of a bible study called “Breaking Free” and now I read your devotional today that was very similar to my story. My ex-husband and I did everything imaginable to hurt each other. (From lying to cheating and more) Even though I know he is as much to blame as I am, I carry a lot of guilt about it. When this was happening, I met a man who was in the same type of relationship as I was in, so we started to confide in each other and become friends. We both tried to make it work with our spouse, but eventually both of our relationships ended, which made us turn to each other even more. We had a good 7 months or so where we grieved over our losses and helped each other through them. As you may have guessed, eventually, we ended up together and over a year later haven’t been happier! He is a good spiritual leader for our family and truly seeks God and is building a strong relationship with him. My ex-husband was missing that quality about him and not having God in the center of our relationship made us very weak. After all of this happened, there was a lot of talk about us (especially from our ex’s) and I have felt many people judging both of us. I had to leave the church that I grew up in because I didn’t feel the love and support that I really needed during that time. When I read the story about the woman, it brought me right back to my situation. Being judged as I am by some people, I always “put my stone down” knowing how it feels, but today I was also reminded that I need to stop judging myself. I think I started believing the judgmental people, but today I feel like God was showing me that I deserve forgiveness and love. He has already helped me move on with my life and even helped me find a new church family that has given me the love and support I was lacking. Now, he is slowly helping me break free from my sins and guilt I have carried for a long time. I know I did some very wrong things in the past, but I also know God loves me and will be there with me as I leave my sinful ways in the past and continue on to a wonderful future with the new family God has given me and helping me build a stronger relationship with him! The only good thing that came out of my failed marriage was that it brought me to such a broken place, that I became more connected to God that I didn’t even know was possible! Just thinking about what he has done in my life since that horrible time amazes me! Thank you for your story! It helped me in so many ways!

  28. jo July 5, 2012 at 6:00 pm #

    Dear Sharon, thank you fo your daily devotionals. I really enjoy them as it brings me closer to God in a special way. Today’s has been food to my soul because I was Morah and although I have since moved on, sometimes I feel so guilty that I find it difficult to talk to God asI would like to. I felt an inner peace after reading your article and I now have the courage to go into God’s presence without fear or shame. I thank God for your ministry and the messages you bring to women all over the world. God richly bless you.

  29. Dawn July 5, 2012 at 6:06 pm #

    Wow! As I read through all the comments and the story from today’s devotional, I was also made aware of how I have thrown stones. It was not until I found myself a once devoted Christian, bound by an awful and sinful addiction. I knew it was wrong and would justify it but feel so bad whenever I would give in to the temptation. This went on for several months. I began the process of forsaking and casting this off, asking God to please forgive me and help me to let this go (because it truly had a hold of me) and I would find more and more strength to resist. Occasionally, when I would be alone or at a real low or discouraged point, I would find myself falling back into this horrible shameful sin. To make a long story short, it was a long process to my victory. I learned through this that not everyone enjoys the sin that they are bound to. Some people are trying their best to be freed. I never talked to anyone about this problem and I believe that this is the reason it took so long to be free. I felt if I did I would be really dispised. Anyway, I have since learned to pray for people that have fallen into sins grasps. I mean really pray (especially when they won’t seek help-they may feel too ashamed). Pray that God would convict them of their sin and open their eyes to how it looks in God’s eyes. Pray that God would lead them out of the dark place that they are in and empower them to fight against the enemy who is waging war against their soul. And continue to pray for them until they see deliverance and have strength to stand. I don’t believe I would have the victory today if it were not for the grace of God that said–You will be bound NO MORE, I give unto you POWER (Luke 10:19). I truly thank my God for the victory and how it has revealed that God’s power to deliver, his power to change, his power to keep you, and his power to make you a witness is UNLIMITED! Sharon, God bless you for GIG devos, they have been spiritual nourishment for me!

  30. Kathy July 5, 2012 at 6:28 pm #

    Six years ago, God asked me to go into prison with a ministry that guided Bible studies and seminars. I was so drawn by the Spirit to inquire about the ministry at the church I attended. Nothing like this had ever cuaght my attention beofre and I never thought I was a candiate for such ministry. When I called the contact person, she very kindly explained to me that they went into the prison as a team and that the yard they were serving on was a sexual offender yard. She told me to pray about it and if I was serious to call her back. She said she would understand if she didn’t hear from me. I had no intention of calling her back. I spent 2 weeks arguing with God about it, but the Holy Spirit would not let it leave my thoughts or my heart. I was at the time, a mother of young kids, a teacher assisstant in a Kindergarten program, a wife, a daughter, a sister, I had been sexually offended myself many years earlier, but I had lived many years the vicitm life trying to escape the shame of my story, (thinking I was never good enough for anyone especially God) and had just been coming to grips with the truth of the situation. HOW could God ask me to go minister to men who had done such horrible things. I kept saying no to HIM. In response I kept hearing these words: “I have forgiven you EVERYTHING! I LOVE YOU! I want them to know My love, too. Go and tell them.” Long story short…I went and was so touched by the work of the Spirit in the men’s lives, that I couldn’t not go back. My husband soon joined me in the ministry and now, six years later, we are still going. Now we are on our own and do a service twice a week in different places in the prison. I have met some of the most amazing Christian brothers behind the walls of incarceration! Jesus is so alive, everywhere!!! I am so thankful and so humbled that He allows me to go in where not many go and to see the faces of the hearts he changes! I was a stone holder myself…until He showed me that all sin is sin….and His love is greater than it ALL! Thank you for your devotions!! You girls touch my heart on a regular basis with the words you share!

  31. Rachel July 5, 2012 at 6:40 pm #

    Most of my life has been such that I would be covered in stones, if it wasn’t for the amazing mercy and grace of Our Lord. No matter how many times I lost faith and strayed from Him, He never lost faith in me and was always there, waiting for me to come to my senses. He has saved me from death by my own hands and from being eternally damned as well. Thank you, Sharon, for reminding me of this wonderful truth. Life gets in the way so often, I have a tough time at work and before you know it, I’m not in awe of Him anymore but am grumbling and complaining about how bad things are. Thank you for reminding me that they have been much, much worse!

  32. Anomymous Please July 5, 2012 at 7:32 pm #

    I was widowed in 2010, and remarried the following year – to a preacher, also a widower. I thought I knew enough about him to think he was of upright character. We had mutual acquaintances and all, but we actually met online. He gave me all his passwords, etc., and that was when things began to show up. For instance, he would call and ask me to “clear his flirts”. This I did, but there would be solicitations in his spam folder that went beyond the normal generic male enhancement ads. I asked questions, and he assured me everything was legit. This was before we got married. I had to fly over 2000 miles for the wedding and then back home for three months to take care of my business there. Long story short, I kept finding more and more lewd emails and offers from hookers for him to view nude pics. I finally just directly asked him if he had ever been involved in porn or had any affairs while married to his late wife. He then admitted that he had. I cannot begin to explain the hurt and anger and betrayal I felt!! I almost had the marriage annulled, and things were awful between us; there was this stronghold that was hard to break. Many times I was packed to go back to where I came from, but I still did not want or believe in divorce (nor does he). The pure grace of God kept us together because there was zero trust on my end for a whole year. I am leaving out details, such as his pastor covering for him and refusing to hold him accountable. Finally, six months into the marriage, we moved and found an awesome church to attend. It was truly a miracle that we were able to do this through our unique set of circumstances. Forgiveness does not come easily, and it didn’t for me. I had to come to a point where I could extend mercy along with God’s grace. Today I can say that although I still remember what happened, I love my husband with all my heart, and I know he love me. It was like one day there was a “shift” in his feelings toward me, that the love he didn’t have for me to begin with was suddenly there. I have a tendency still to be unforgiving in small things he does that irritate me, but I have to look at the big picture. Forgiveness goes against our grain, but it is so freeing. We have an awesome God who is in the restoration business.

  33. Amy July 5, 2012 at 9:52 pm #

    I am thankful to read your devotion today because I know what it feels like to be “Morah,” exposed before the Pharisees. I’ve felt Jesus’ strangely wonderful gaze while others judged and gawked. I fumbled through my college years alone and desperate for love. I was throwing stones at myself, until I truly learned the love Jesus has for me. When sins are thrown out at me and I have a hard time forgiving myself (or others,) I like to picture this scene in my head: The God who sees just witnessed this sin and turns to look to his son. Jesus, sitting next to the Father, says “Yes, Dad, I died for that sin too.”

    In “Alive” by Natalie Grant

    This phrase jumps out at me every time as my eyes are filled with the warmest tears…

    “What other heart would let itself be broken every time till He healed mine?
    You. Only You could turn my darkness into dawn; running right into Your arms.”

    I’ve felt like I could never be used for the Kingdom…and now I listen to the Voice of Truth. I pray one day to have a ministry as blessed as yours Sharon, so I can reach women just like me, and show them how easy it truly is to “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

    P.S. I accepted Jesus as my Lord July 6, 2011…and I was just baptized July 1, 2012. God has done amazing things in my life…and set my feet on SOLID ground! I’m learning how to crawl, and every simple thing I do I know is doted on like a mother dotes on the smallest growth in her newborn child. To any one reading…don’t give up, and know that any step in the right direction, no matter how small it seems, is HUGE in the eyes of Christ! Praise to God, our everlasting, ever steady and ever merciful God.

    • Sharon July 6, 2012 at 12:49 am #

      I’m so happy for you!

  34. Melisa Aragon July 5, 2012 at 10:12 pm #

    Thank you so very much for your words… I am a recovering drug addict with 2 years three months and 25 days sober and clean and sometimes, because of my poor choices, it’s hard for others to look past what I was to the beautigul woman God intended for me to be! I am on a journey to reconnect with my twin 8 year old daughters and I let God have complete control! How He loves me so! There are even some who think bad things about me and well I trust that Jesus is my defender and that God has it all under control!! maybe the stone throwers, as I often am even with all the grace He has given me, they just need a prayer!! When I see angry people or mean people, I see hurt people… a people that do not know how to move past whatever is standing in their way to reach out to JEsus. It’s hard to let God have complete control and to trust Him when your understanding of Him is askew. It’s even harder if you have been taught self sufficiency your whole life and to hand over the reins to something that you can’t feel or touch just seems insane and weak!! so back to your story… When I first got sober and clean no one believed me and still others accuse, but when I read this in early recovery, it reminds me that even though I was a drug addicted prostitute, He loved me then and He brought me to where I am today and what a journey!! God is good all the time but no t everybody has been given the gifts that we have and that’s what Jesus, God, and the Bible are all about. How to forgive and LOVE without limits!! what a beautiful girft… to have instructions on how to get closer and love and be like our creator!!! He truly is an awesome God!! I love that I get GIG in the early morning!!! It is always something I need and you women are truly blessed to share the word of God with others!! Thank you for sharing God with me!!

  35. Dominique July 6, 2012 at 3:19 am #

    I’ve not committed adultery or anything like that. In fact I’ve never even dated anyone and I’m 18. I keep telling myself I’m trying so hard to live for God because I’m living right, but I’m starting to realize I’m not trying that hard at all. I just keep on doing things God’s told me not to do…not sex, not drugs or anything that’s obvious to others…but what I read and my thoughts are in rebellion against God. When I try to stop doing them, I’m basically throwing stones at myself, saying, “Well, you didn’t stop last time” and I continue to do them. But I know that God forgives me and I know that he wants to do amazing things in my life.

    I imagine that this lady was truly changed from her encounter with God. I imagine that she became fully aware that believing in Him was worth more than what she loved so dearly. And I do love my secret sins dearly. I don’t want to stop, but I”m trying to realize that Jesus’ love is more important and is truly transforming, not just temporary.

    But yeah, I do throw stones every day and criticize those whose lives seem worse than mine. But I’m in rebellion too, so I can’t say anything. God can see all sin, unlike us.

  36. Valerie July 6, 2012 at 3:34 am #

    When I came to the “lets pray”…..I was in tears remembering God’s grace and how much he has forgiven me….Thank you Jesus for reminding me of your mercy and grace, help me to hold onto these thoughts and walk as You do.

  37. Mariam July 6, 2012 at 9:32 am #

    So many times i know i didn’t deserve God’s love but he preserved my life, kept me at a job even when i didn’t deserve to stay in one he healed me and chose to keep me in perfect health, he preserved my path from several accidents he showed me love and kept me strong at a point when i felt i was losing it i felt hes strong arms of grace there to save me he saved me from conspiracy and disgrace and preserved my loved ones even when we didn’t deserve it. I repent of every instance where I have played the Pharisee to cast stones at people because even when i deserved a STONE Christ preserved me. Jesus i’m truly grateful for every unthrown stone, thank you Lord.

  38. Pat July 7, 2012 at 2:11 am #

    Sharon,
    Thank you for today’s devotion. It’s so easy to forget that GOD has forgiven me of some things that I am ashamed to mention here. But it is SO easy to look on other people with judgement and say, “I’ll never do something like that”. It is grace that allows me to function each and every day. What I need more of is compassion and less of only seeing things from my perspective. Pray for me that I will gain compassion and lose selfishness.

    • Sharon July 7, 2012 at 3:24 am #

      We all need more compassion. You’re not alone in that. Let’s pray that Christians everywhere will drop the stones.

    • Sharon July 11, 2012 at 9:22 pm #

      Pat, did you see how your comment ministered to Colleen. I love it when you gals minister to each other.

  39. Bev July 7, 2012 at 2:24 am #

    Sharon
    thank you for GIG devotions. I read them every morning which really helps me start my day out with jesus. We are having to file bankruptsy and my family are casting stones but I thank Jesus as he has forgiven us. We have learned our lesson, cut up the credit cards and never buy anything unless we have the money to buy it. I really can identify with Morah and I thank you for the devotion.

  40. Roselyn July 8, 2012 at 4:06 am #

    I am so grateful with God for His mercy endures forever and He is willing to forgive us our sins all the time. There are so many times that I disappoint God but He is always the loving and merciful God to me. He never condemned me. I love you Lord.

  41. Courtney July 10, 2012 at 6:04 am #

    I met with my counselor today about a sin struggle that I have lived with for most of my life and the verse she gave me to say when confronted with temptation was 1 John 1:9! I am still very much in the midst of this struggle but I am learning to have confidence that God will pull me through!

  42. Erica July 10, 2012 at 6:58 am #

    I really enjoy this lesson and needed it. I went through this today I sin and came short and I felt very bad and unclean,but I thank God for you and how u inspire me today. This was my first time on here but will not be my last. I ask that you pray for my strength that i can do God’s will and keep my hand in his hand. Thanks

  43. Sue July 10, 2012 at 8:23 am #

    Sins, i had many. I accepted Christ, I repented. My sins forgiven. Jesus paid a heavy price for my sins. That is why whenever pastors or brothers and sisters in Christ prayed for me and tell me Jesus loves me, my tears will pour down like rain. I am still learning to be a better christian, to have good communications with God, even sensed Jesus’s presence while delivering my second daughter. Since that second chance, God answered each of my prayers every 2 years. Just recently as I am struggling with problems and down in a pit, I am still learning to be patience, be still and wait. Having GIG in my life helps too. Thank you girls. Life is never easy I know but why panic when Jesus is right besides me.

  44. Heather July 10, 2012 at 11:06 am #

    My sister-in-law is dying on a ventilator. Her life had much sin and hatred in it, yet I have been told deep in side she wanted to stop and new Jesus, but would never give up control. She will probably be removed from life support this week, and I am struggling whether or not she is going to heaven. Can someone be a Christian and have such strongholds in their life that they can’t lay them down? Maybe this is only something for the grace/mercy of Jesus to know….Your devotional touched my heart and I am very thankful for my JESUS….Thank you for your prayers.

  45. somebodypray forme July 10, 2012 at 11:18 am #

    I am so greatful God has delivered me from my sin and gave me a new start. I have sinned so much but now its. A new start an I want to walk daily with the Lord.if u read this pray for my family of five.husband and three children. Feelinlost but notalone

  46. Lisa July 10, 2012 at 1:24 pm #

    This devotional spoke volumes to me about condemnation. I struggle with this daily and really needed to hear this message today. Thank you for being such a powerful vessel of God. May God continue to bless and use you.

  47. Darlene Taylor July 10, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

    I can relate with the woman in the story today. I accepted Christ as my Saviour when I was about 12 years old but never realized all that it meant. As a young adult I strayed so far away. To a life filled with sin, sleeping with men, adultry, etc. But God has forgiven me and took me back by His side. In 1996 I rededicated my life to Jesus Christ and I know that I’m forgiven.

    somebodypray formem, know that someone is praying for you. Don’t ever give up on God

    Darlene

  48. Gayl July 10, 2012 at 1:55 pm #

    Tears came to my eyes and I thought about all the stones I was throwing at my husband and I thought that is stupid. He forgives me and I forgive him. That is what marriage is all about. I have not been perfect in my marriage and have wanted to leave him from time to time because of past hurts; but that is what they should be past hurts forgiven and forgotten. Putting down my stones.

  49. Sandy July 10, 2012 at 3:16 pm #

    Always a great truth to study from the Word. I was born again at 13, rededicated my life to the Lord twice. I was well into my 40’s forbefore I learned how important it is that I forgive myself! Ive always believed God’s forgiveness through Jesus, however, I would continue to carry my own guilt and condemnation. During a womens Bible study, a sister said something that brought a new revelation regarding forgiveness. It changed my life. I’m writing it here, perhaps it will change yours. She said, when we dont fogive ourselves, when we carry that sin around…it is like saying “Jesus, it wasn’t enough that you went to the cross once,” so in essence we are making a mockery of what He did! What a revelation. Who among us would ever intentionally ask Him to sacrifice His life for us? But when we dont leave our sin with Him and walk away carrying it around, we are doing just that. The revelation of this Grace knowledge set me free. It is not only OKAY for us to forgive ourselves but we must lay that sin at the foot of the cross, know Jesus’ blood covers ied it and walk freely by His Grace.

  50. Colleen July 11, 2012 at 8:45 pm #

    I read one woman aske that God would grant her more compassion and less selfishness. Wow…RIGHT ON with that comment! I think as humans, we are all born selfish and without much compassion. Just watch a little 2 year old. It’s all about them! They don’t care about anything or anyone else, really. I have a 3 year old grandson, and I watch him every step of his little life. He’s so into himself, (as cute as he is)! I love him dearly, but as grandparents and parents, we are to teach him compassion and selflessness. It does not come naturally. The Holy Spirit guides each one of us, and He shows us how to be compassionate for others. Lord, help us all!

    • Sharon July 11, 2012 at 9:20 pm #

      I love it when you gals minister to each other! I thought that was an amazing comment too.

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