I'll admit, I'm not perfect. Sometimes (more like most of the time) I screw up, and some days I screw up more than other days. I was really beating myself up a couple days ago for something stupid I did (I don't feel ready to talk about it yet). That night, my husband asked me what I wanted us to read before going to bed and I told him something about forgiveness and mercy. All day I kept thinking how disappointed Jesus must be with me. We read the story of the adulterous woman.
"Go and sin no more...." ALL of us screw up on a daily basis. We can try all we like but we're still going to screw up and have failures. But Jesus doesn't look badly at us when we mess up. Here this woman had been caught in adultery. While that may not be that big of a deal today (unless you're a big figure like in politics) in the US, it was a HUGE deal back then. Getting caught in adultery meant the death penalty - being stoned to death. No that does not mean being "stoned" as in drugs (I hate that I have to point that out but I know some people will make a joke about that), it means people were literally throwing rocks at the person. We're not talking little pebbles rocks, we're talking about big rocks!
Anyway, I think a lot of us can relate to the woman. Even if it isn't adultery, we all have screw ups (sin) we do, many times on a daily basis even. We ALL deserve the death penalty (even what you may think are the small stuff). BUT, Jesus has mercy and compassion on us. He knows we screw up ALL the time! He took our punishment though, He got our death penalty instead of us. But if we are His followers, we don't have to have that punishment. God has every right to punish us. He laid out how we are supposed to live our lives and we break those rules ALL the time! I think one of the reasons He laid out so many rules was because He wanted to show us that we can't be "good" on our own. We need Him!
When the Accuser (Satan) tries to beat us to the ground with all of the crap we've done in our lives, Jesus steps in and says "I took their punishment for them. They belong to me." We don't have to punish ourselves (which I know for myself I tend to do a lot).
"Go and sin no more...." What does this mean? We can't stop sinning all-together, as long as we are breathing we will always screw up. God knows we can't go without sinning, dare I say we can't be perfect for even a day? So what does He mean by this? He means "Don't do it again." It's like one time as a little kid, I saw the movie "Titanic" with some friends. My parents had told me not to watch it, but I did anyway (I really was too young to watch it). After I watched it, I felt really guilty. When I went home, I told my parents and I think they knew I was feeling really bad for watching it. So they said "Don't do it again." Jesus knows we will sin again, He's just saying to not do it again.
I think a lot of times we take advantage of God's grace for us. We think "Well, He's going to forgive me anyway, so I can do what I want!" You are taking advantage of His grace that way! Jesus didn't die just so you could just keep living your life the way you want to! He did it to break the bondage that you have in your life! Imagine you're married for a moment, and your spouse has a one night stand. They tell you and it breaks your heart, but it only happened once right? It was a mistake! Surely they won't do it again! So you forgive them and say "Don't do it again." Your spouse then thinks, "Well, they forgave me and didn't leave me." Next thing you know the one night stand turns into two, three, seven, and so on. Your spouse took advantage of your grace for them! It'd really hurt wouldn't it? It'd really piss you off wouldn't it? You don't want to be taken advantage of, so why the heck would you want to take advantage of God's grace? Let's honor His grace and Jesus' sacrifice by doing our best to turn away from whatever sin it is we are living, and thank God for His grace and to help us live our lives without taking advantage of Him.