Is experience really the best teacher? Some people are very daring and prefer to learn by experience while others are just too cautious; they choose to learn by carefully watching surrounding happenings. I’m not sure what makes one daring or cautious but I think that it would be wonderful if we can draw from both our own and others’ experiences to become better people.
I have a daring older sister and growing up, whenever she got into trouble, I only needed to watch the ramifications to learn that whatever she had done was one more thing I shouldn’t do. It helped me a lot. Life is too short to learn everything by experience and I believe that is why we have the scriptures. For instance, a man does not need to find a Bathsheba to understand that the ‘affair’ King David had with her was evil. We can watch incidences in other people’s lives and learn.
Nowadays, even though we hear about a health crisis associated with promiscuity and drug abuse, or the problem of illegitimate births, we do not often hear the word sin. We prefer to call it a mistake but if we were speak like Jesus then we would call it like it is – sin! But try telling someone, “You didn’t make a mistake – you committed a sin.” Most likely, they will think that you are judging them and assuming a holier-than-thou attitude.
In John 8:4-11 we understand that Jesus exonerated the woman caught in sin. He didn’t debate whether she had truly sinned or made a mistake. Her accusers were positive that she had sinned and needed to pay the price. Jesus got her out of trouble and then said, “Neither do I condemn you: go, and sin no more” (John 8:11 AKJV). However, in our generation, we choose to omit the latter part; erroneously revising the Truth. Is it any wonder that we find ourselves spiraling downward into the deep end? For example, isn’t it disturbing that in a country with 80 percent Christians, 45 percent of women seeking abortion have had at least one previous abortion? At what point do we hear and exercise “go and sin no more”? Are we deceiving ourselves in the pews neglecting to live by the spoken Word delivered to us from heaven via the pulpits (James 1:22 NIV)?
The man who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years eventually got healed. Later, Jesus met him again and said, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you” (John 5:14 NIV). If we have had an encounter with Jesus, we’re alert enough to know righteousness from wickedness. Isn’t it interesting how a non-believer can easily spot sin when a believer commits it? God loves us and His will is that we overcome sin. He cautions us by His Spirit. The problem comes when we don’t heed to the warnings. How much are we willing to pay for ignoring the warnings? Failure to heed has a way of setting its price steeper than we ever budgeted for, taking us farther than we ever wanted to go, keeping us bound longer than we ever planned to stay, sinking us deeper than we ever thought and making us turn out worse than we ever imagined.
One doesn’t find themselves in at the deep end overnight. We can slide down that slippery slope without even knowing it until we hit bottom. If we hide our sins and live in darkness, we will never get the healing we so desperately need; in fact, if it is hidden so well that we don’t even recognize it, we may never even find forgiveness. I honestly don’t think that the woman in John 8:4-11 and the man in John 5:1-15 were ‘first time offenders’. It is likely that they had just never been caught but they meet the Master who lovingly forgives, heals and warns them. Can we learn from their experience? I believe we can.
Without Jesus Christ, like that adulterous woman, we will always find ourselves thrown in at the deep end but meeting Jesus reveals His grace to us giving us power to say no to all ungodliness (Titus 2:11-12 NIV) and enabling us to no longer continue in sin. (Romans 6:1-2 ESV). We need only stretch our hands toward Him and be intentional on getting rid of sin in our lives (Job 11:13-19 NLT). We can do this because God is on our side!