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Forbearance

"'Then neither do I condemn you,' Jesus declared." (John 8:11).

Jesus could have so easily declared the death sentence! But He who is so tender and loving gave this woman another chance. How much comfort and hope there is for us in this great passage. "If God is for us, who is against us? ...Who will bring a charge against God's elect?" (Romans 8:31,33). Mary became one of God's elect because Jesus showed mercy rather than condemnation. Should we not follow His example and show forbearance to others? We are sinners, too, so why should we point out the tiny speck when we carry a beam of sin ourselves? "Love covers all transgressions" (Proverbs 10:112b) so let us rather love one another than condemn, whether the facts are true or not.

Notice Christ's way of dealing with Peter when he cursed and lied the night that he should have supported his Friend. "The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter" (Luke 22:61). He didn't scold him; Jesus, by a tender look, brought to Peter's mind what a terrible deed he had done to His Lord. Even at the time of His own terrible suffering of mind and body, Jesus shows that He has not forgotten the pain Peter is enduring, too. And after the resurrection He utters not a single word of condemnation to His friend Peter.

"To him who overcomes ... I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone ..." (Revelation 2:17b). The ancient custom was to give a white stone to the acquitted and a black stone to the condemned. The white stone is the stone of salvation, and the new name is not a fresh name of itself, but a fresh revelation of God and His nature. Surely both Mary and Peter were given fresh revelations of God's nature through His forgiveness of their sins. These are beautiful accounts of the exquisite love and understanding of a lovely Savior!

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