There I was… standing by the cash register in lawn and garden thinking about what my next move was going to be and the consequences that might come my way if I make this decision. I decided to act swiftly!
So I yelled out in a loud voice to the lady that was pushing her cart toward the door with an unordinary amount of things in her cart. I yelled “hey, do you have a reciept for all of that” and her response was “I left it in the car.”
My first thought was “who the heck has a receipt in the car for stuff you are trying to exit the store with?” so I quickly moved over there where she was standing to somewhat block her from going out the door but when I got close to her what I saw was absolutely ridiculous.
I saw that she had 16 bags of gold fish that she was trying to take!!! I literally thought “how did she manage to scoop all of these fish in clear bags without anyone seeing?” because there were at least 10 fish per bag!!!
I laughed and informed the lady that she had to wait right where she was standing with her fish until I could get a manager. As a Walmart employee I couldn’t just stand by and watch this happen and after I told her this she had this look on her face and she said “I got caught.”
When a manager over and they escorted her to the front of the store where she was dealt with by someone (I don’t know what happened to her or the fish from there.)
I started thinking about those three words and that feeling of getting caught. The lady in Walmart that I stopped had to feel like her world just got turned upside down because she knew that there was about to be consequences for her.
But I want to ask you, have you ever gotten caught? Maybe when you got caught it wasn’t stealing 16 bags of goldfish from Walmart but maybe it was lying to someone. Maybe it was taking something from work you were weren’t supposed to take or possibly it was cheating on a project in school and taking full credit for the work only to have caught by the teacher.
Lying, cheating (no matter what kind of cheating it is), stealing, it’s all sin. Sin is sin and when we get caught in sin it leaves us feeling guilty and condemned. It makes us feel like no one will love us or look at us the same anymore.
A Woman Caught In The Act
I love this story so much because it reminds me over and over that I am forgiven by Jesus. You are forgiven as well!
It starts out with a lady who was caught in the middle of sin. Think about how you felt when you got caught or how the lady must have felt when this happened. We pick it up in John chapter eight verse three:
“The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group.” (John 8:3)
This woman had to feel worthless, guilty and hopeless. Not only did she get caught IN THE ACT she was brought before an entire group of people looking down on her because of her sin. Everyone in the room knew what she had done and was ready to condemn her and she knew it.
There was another person in the room though, his name is Jesus. After this lady was brought in and forced to stand before a group of people ready to condemn her this is what happened after Jesus was asked what to do with her:
“and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.” (John 8:4-6)
The religious leaders were trying to trap Jesus into answering the question the way they wanted him to answer it. They wanted him to accuse the woman just like they were doing.
“When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stoneat her.”Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.” (John 8:7-9)
Jesus answered completely different than what was expected of him and aren’t you thankful that he did! He didn’t stop there though, he bent down to the woman and said this:
“Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,”Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8:10-11)
Jesus didn’t condemn the woman and he doesn’t condemn you either. He had every right to condemn her but he didn’t. Honestly, it would have been right if he would have condemned her. It would have been fair. I’m super thankful and grateful that we serve a God who doesn’t give us what we deserve, instead he gives us what we don’t deserve! Meaning we don’t get what we deserve because God has mercy on us when we began a relationship with him. One of my favorite verse in the Bible is:
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1-2)
In Christ there is no condemnation for us because Jesus already paid the price for every sin we have ever committed. Jesus doesn’t stand ready to accuse us but free us. He wants something for us and that’s salvation and freedom.
That doesn’t mean we don’t have to face earthly consequences. Stealing fish from Walmart will result in some form of consequence just like any other law you break on this planet but know that Jesus isn’t waiting to condemn you and neither does he give you permission to sin because of grace. He is out to free you, love you radically and bless you immeasurably more than all you can ask or imagine.