Summary: We exam the truth of God’s forgiveness toward us, and our responsibility to forgive others.
Before we begin today, I want you to think of someone that you have a hard time forgiving. Someone that you just can’t seem to forgive, no matter how hard you try. Now, if you have your notes, I want you to write the initials of that person down on your notes.
One thing I’ve learned over the years is that it matters what you say. In other words, words are important—not just what is said, but how it is said.
A man was in the doghouse with his wife, so he ordered her some flowers and told the florist that the card should read, "I’m sorry, I love you." Unfortunately, his instructions must not have been clear enough. When the flowers arrived, the card read, "I’m sorry I love you."
I think it’s funny what we have done, maybe unconsciously, in our dealings with other people. When people come to us and tell us that they are sorry, what used to be the response in this country? Apology accepted, or maybe, you’re forgiven. Today, we just say, That’s okay.
But is it? We haven’t truly said that they are forgiven, and I think that is why we say it. Notice I said, “we”. I’m guilty of saying “It’s okay” as well. We say things like that, when things are not okay. We get hurt, and we remember. We hold on to hurts, and never let them go.
If there’s one thing that we all have in common this morning, it is that we all have a need for forgiveness. We all have a need for a second chance, an opportunity to make thngs right again. There’s not one of us here this morning that has lived a perfect life, that has not wronged someone else, including God. We all have a common need, yet sometimes we rarely practice it amongst ourselves.
This morning, we are going to look at John 8 this morning, the first 11 verses, as well as some other passages, so we can learn more about second chances, and why it is important.
READ JOHN 8:1-11
The first thing that we see about second chances are that they are freely given by God.
As Jesus was teaching at the temple, the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery. This was a test to see what Jesus would say. They knew that Jesus would preach a message of forgiveness, so if they could get him to say that he forgave her, then they had him. You see, the Scriptures said in Deuteronomy 22—“If a man happens to meet in a town a virgin pledged to be married and he sleeps with her, 24 you shall take both of them to the gate of that town and stone them to death—the girl because she was in a town and did not scream for help, and the man because he violated another man’s wife. You must purge the evil from among you.”
So, if Jesus said to forgive her, then he was going against the Law. If he said to stone her, then he would be considered heartless. You see, the Pharisees could care less about her, or her crime. In fact, stoning for adultery had not occurred all that much in those days anymore. But that did not nullify the law.
So they thought they had him. But instead of answering the question, Jesus stooped down and began writing in the sand.
Now we don’t know what Jesus wrote. But we have some good guesses. Someone thought that Jesus was writing the names of their mistresses in the sand. Or those that they’ve lusted after.
There’s another suggestion, which I believe to be true.
EXODUS 31: 18 When the LORD finished speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two tablets of the Testimony, the tablets of stone inscribed by the finger of God.
What many believe, and what I believe He wrote in the sand was the 7th commandment. Does anyone remember what the 7th commandment is? “Thou shalt not commit adultery.”
So, Jesus, as God, begins writing in the sand with his finger (much like the tablets), reminding them of another aspect of the law that they had forgotten.
And the Pharisees, didn’t get the message. “So, what’s the answer Jesus?”
So, since they hadn’t gotten it yet, he straightens up, and says, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”
And he stoops back down to write in the sand. And now, they get it. They were as guilty as she. They were not sinless in their hearts. So, one by one, they left, and there was just Jesus and the woman.
Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”