Messed up? That is this month’s question in our “Does God Care Series.” It’s also an answer we seek. After all, we’ve all messed up a time or two or three or a hundred! Well, at least I have.
AS USUAL, I LOOK TO THE WOMEN OF THE BIBLE FOR MY ANSWER AND BOY DID I FIND SOME THAT MESSED UP!
There was Eve who ate the forbidden fruit, Sarah laughed at God’s promise, Tamar slept with her father-in-law, and Rahab ran a brothel. Talk about messed up, and these are just a few from the Old Testament.
Of course, we don’t want to forget the New Testament ladies! How about Martha, who ordered Jesus around, the immoral life of the woman at the well, and Mary Magdalene sitting at the empty tomb doubting Jesus’ resurrection.
IT’S CRINGEWORTHY BECAUSE WE’VE ALL BEEN THERE.
Ok, before we get too depressed, let’s dig a little deeper into one woman who messed up big time that isn’t on the lists above. Yes, there are a slew of them!
THE WOMAN CAUGHT IN ADULTERY. WE DON’T EVEN KNOW HER NAME.
As usual, the Pharisees were up to no good trying to trick Jesus into making a mistake and saying something against the laws of Moses. The plan: dragging an adulterous woman in front of Jesus, asking Him what punishment is right, hoping He will mess up. The Pharisees see black and white and, obviously, the law requires stoning.
As the shamed woman stands in front of all these men, I can hear her labored breathing and heart beating so hard that you could almost see it, Her eyes downcast as these men disdainfully stare at her. Undoubtedly, she wonders why the man didn’t get dragged in front of these people. After all, he messed up too. And the law requires punishment for both parties involved.
AT FIRST, JESUS IGNORES THESE HYPOCRITICAL MEN
Jesus bent down and wrote in the dirt with His finger. Don’t you wonder what he wrote? It is one of my questions when I get to eternity!
Anyway, the men persist, for they think they’ve tricked Jesus. What they don’t know is they’ve messed up too.
So, what does our Messiah say?
“Anyone here who has never sinned can throw the first stone at her” (John 8: 7b).
Knowing that everyone around them knew of each others’ sins, they all left in shame.
Now the truth is this woman messed up. So, what does Jesus do? Well, He says to her: “Woman, where are they? Has no one judged you guilty?”
The woman answers our Lord in what I imagine to be a soft, hesitant voice, “No one, sir.” While there is a period at the end of this statement, I hear a question mark.
Jesus’ answer, “I also don’t judge you guilty. You may go now, but don’t sin anymore” (John 8: 11b).
Yes, Jesus cared that she messed up and told her to sin no more, but He did so with kindness and blessings.
You can learn more about this biblical account in John 8: 1-11 or click here for more information.
SO, DOES GOD CARE WHEN WE MESS UP?
Of course, He does. He cares about our sin, but also about our person and relationship with Him. Review the list at the beginning of this post. Even though every one of these women messed up, He met each one where they were in their walk and blessed them in some way.
THE OLD TESTAMENT LADIES
Eve was clothed and given a family. In fact, she is the mother of all humanity!
Despite Sarah’s laugh, God blessed her with the son she so longed for in her life.
Then there is Tamar’s grave sin of tricking her father-in-law into sleeping with her. Surely that is unforgiveable. Well, like the men who brought the adulterous woman to Jesus, her father-in-law was even more in the wrong. He withheld her rightful husband. So, out of all this sin, God shines light on hypocrisy, forgives and blesses Tamar with a child, support, and protection.
Rahab, the brothel owner, was taken in by the Israelites and was an ancestor of Jesus!
JESUS’ RESPONSE TO THE NEW TESTAMENT MESS UPS
Martha chastised Jesus rather harshly, but Jesus was gentle in His rebuke, and she remained a close friend to the Messiah. Moreover, He raised her brother from the dead!
Jesus made it clear that the woman at the well was a sinner, but He used her to save many in Samaria.
And Mary Magdalene was the first to see Jesus after the resurrection, despite her not realizing that the empty tomb meant Jesus rose – just as He told her He would! To read more about Mary’s encounter with Jesus and others who messed up because they doubted Jesus’ prophetic words, check out this article.
A SUGGESTION ON HOW TO RESPOND TO OUR MESSED UP DECISION OR ACTION
There are many ways to address our mistakes and sins. This is one way that I find helpful.
Write it down. Ugh, I know that makes it real and kind of slaps you in the face. However, it also makes you realize what you did and how it hurt God’s heart.
Write a couple of questions you want to ask God pertaining to this mess up. For instance, what actions do I need to do to make this better? What Scripture helps at a time like this? How did I end up here and how can I avoid it happening again?
Go to God and read Him your messed up statement and seek forgiveness. Then ask Him the questions you wrote down.
Take some time to be silent. I don’t mean sit there and demand God speak. You can use silence for a few hours or sporadically throughout the day. Be on the alert to hear God through the Holy Spirit, circumstances, other people, or Scripture. God speaks in many different ways.
Trust that God will deal with you fairly and lovingly, just as He did with all our biblical sisters. There may be consequences, but we can count on God’s promise to forgive us and stay with us until the end.
As always, I encourage comments below. Perhaps you can share a mess up in your life and how God’s grace got you through. You can share anything on your mind or make a prayer request.