Crime section of the local newspaper Photo illustration by Tracey Lewis
Crime section of the local newspaper
Photo illustration by Tracey Lewis

Happy New Year I said to the ladies in jail tonight as I walked up to the front of the room. How many in here want to start over and have a new beginning? Just about all of them raised their hand. I know someone in the bible who got a new beginning and we speculated on what she did with her new beginning. She can be found in John 8 where we find the story about the woman who was caught in the very act of adultery. Well, we can’t look down our noses at her because you and I both have been unfaithful to the Lord. Any time we put anything in the place of God, we are cheating on Him, and yet He keeps taking us back over and over again.

I think what happens is that we find grace and mercy as we gaze into the eyes of the Lord. Think about when the Scribes and Pharisees brought the woman to Jesus, he was stooping down. Jesus stood up after the accusers were gone and looked the lady in her eyes calling her Woman, and said He did not condemn her either. I have heard that maybe the reason they didn’t bring the man was because she was not married, but betrothed. She could have been 13 or 14 years old; she was just a kid and Jesus called her Woman. That changed everything.

As I was reading this story in the Bible, I thought about how Jesus took the focus off the woman and put it on the ones who had stones in their hands to throw at her. It’s how the law is used to show us how we are not without sin. That’s what the law does; it makes us look at ourselves as we are unworthy to perform up to the perfect standard of the law.

You know, this woman was caught in the very act of adultery and was probably not dressed. She was standing in the middle of the courtyard, ashamed, guilty and horrified. She is very aware that everyone is looking at her and knows who she is. I asked the ladies in jail how many of them had their name in the newspaper. Most raised their hand and started to relate to this woman. I asked them if they thought about what she must have been thinking when she woke up the next morning, after Jesus didn’t condemn her, and told her to go and sin no more. We know the people looked at her and were pointing saying, “that’s the girl who…..” Are they saying that about you, I asked? What are you going to do about it? Will you say, “Well, I might as well do it if I am being accused of it?” Or have you met the Master who said to you, “neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more” I don’t know about you, but when Jesus showed me grace, mercy and forgiveness, I never wanted to go back to my old life. I died was buried and raised again into a new life; a life of Christ living in me and expressing Himself through my personality. I love to walk around knowing He is everywhere I am and that He loves others through me.

Tammy, Joyce, and I watched Louie Gigilo minister tonight to this group of women through a DVD about the New Year. Afterward, I received a note to talk to young lady who Tammy and I have talked to before. She asks a lot of questions and has learned so much since she has been here. The struggle she has right now is what to do about feeling bad about judging others. There are things that go on in jail that she doesn’t agree with and feels bad when in her heart she judges them. We talked about the meaning of what judging is. God is the one who judges the heart and intents and gives out punishments. We are to hate the sin and love the sinner. We pray for them and realize we would be doing that very sin if God wasn’t keeping us and then thank Him that He is keeping us. That has changed my life and how I look at others. It has helped this lady too because she said she got a revelation out of it.

That is a great beginning of a happy new year.

Written by Tracey


2 thoughts on “NEW BEGINNINGS

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