As she walked into my office and closed the door, this vivacious young woman who seemed to always have a cheery smile, was extremely downcast. With slumped shoulders, she sat down with her eyes towards the floor. Tears began to spill from her eyes. She was wrung her hands is if there were something she wanted to clean off of them. I immediately grabbed Kleenex and sat down beside her. The room was silent until the tears became sobs as I held her in my arms. I’m unsure as to the time frame of no words being spoken , but the more she cried the more my heart ached for I saw such brokenness. This visit was not what I had expected. For just days before this appointment, I had called this young woman to ask her if she would consider leading a lady’s Bible study group for women, her age. I had been observing her for months and was so impressed with her spiritual walk, her genuinely warm smile, and her countenance of love for the Lord. In our phone conversation, I had asked her to pray about the leadership opportunity and to get back with me.
Finally the sobbing stopped. Through hiccups and shallow breathing, I heard these words, “I can’t be a Bible study leader. I am marked. You don’t know my past. I have been married and divorced twice, plus there is some other ugliness.” As I held her tighter, I asked if she had asked for forgiveness and understood her redemption from a loving Lord. She nodded her head positively. I then asked what brought on this shame and guilt? She described coming in contact with a person from her former church who knew this entire woman’s past. In a nutshell, this person could not accept her as a “new creation.” It opened a door to the enemy, and this person spewed condemnation and judgments rapidly. Did this person not understand Scripture that says there is no, nada, none, zilch condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus? Was this person so blinded that she did not remember the verse, “And be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ Jesus forgives you.” (Ephesians 4:3.NKJ). Oh my goodness, my heart was wrapped in mothering instincts and I wanted to protect this sweet kind young woman.
Immediately the Lord brought to mind the story of the Samaritan woman at the well. She was “marked” by the other women. She came to draw water around noon knowing no one would be there. The other women wanted to punish her and to cause her to live in shame and guilt. Yet, as Jesus sat and spoke with her, all He saw was a woman in need of redemption. She had a past, but He saw her future. As the story goes, Jesus trusted this “marked” woman, not the other women. He chose her to be instrumental in introducing the cast-out Samaritans to Himself. This Samaritan woman came to the well full of shame and guilt but left forgiven and full of hope. “Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited and redeemed His people.” (Luke 1:68.NJK).
Maybe you are walking in shame and guilt and need redemption or possibly a reminder of your redemption. Come to the well. The Redeemer waits with open arms to receive you and cleanse you with the water of redemption. With His outpouring of love and forgiveness, He will also forget your past. “Stand firm therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and don’t be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” (Galatians 5:1 NJK).
There is a happy ending to this distraught young woman’s story. She arrived full of shame and guilt, but left trusting the Redeemer. She left her past behind, and became a wonderful witness for the Lord. As a tender-hearted leader of a Bible study, she uses her story to help others. Praise be to the God Most High.
Let’s bow and pray.
Lord, I know there are sins in my life from the past that I have confessed and asked Your forgiveness. As my Savior, I also know you have forgiven me and also forgotten them. I’m asking that if words from the enemy put doubt in my mind to those already forgiven areas, please remind me to take a stand against the enemy, recall my redemption, and walk away with a victorious attitude. I am praising You because through the shed blood on the cross, I am a new creation. Hallelujah. In Jesus’s name, Amen.