Category Archives: John 8


“Do not judge, or you too will be judged” (Matthew 7:1 NIV).


Do you know why Jesus commands us not to judge?  Because it HURTS.


Judgment is not fun, and feeling someone’s criticism, condemnation, or careless words can break our hearts and possibly falter our faith.  Because judgment goes to the core of who we are – our identity, our ideals, and our integrity – and proclaims we have failed.  And who likes to feel like a failure?


Don’t get me wrong.  We all make mistakes, and hopefully we all learn and grow from them.  They are necessary to help us see when we have done, thought, or gone wrong.  They should help us do better, speak kinder, and love easier.  We should not feel like a failure in these instances – because grace will come in and pick us up and point us in the right direction.


What I am talking about is …

Feeling the weight of someone’s (harsh) opinion pushing you down.

Battling the emotions of someone’s (careless) words defining your character.

Walking through people’s (uninformed) assumptions about your motives.



To be assigned value possibly contrary to your character and core.

To be pronounced not good (enough), possibly without insight into your motives and methods.

To be critiqued and found guilty, possible based on inconclusive evidence.

To be criticized as wrong, possibly based on impossible or unchecked standards.


To be judged.  When you feel its weight – when your character is questioned and your integrity is challenged – it can break your heart.


Like it broke mine yesterday.  When I found out my subordinate went to the owner because she was concerned I was acting irresponsibly over payroll.  No, she never came and asked me questions after our initial tutorial session.  No, she never voiced anything to me.  Instead, she processed and came to the conclusion that I was cheating our techs – for no good reason.


And my heart broke when I was asked about it.  My eyes watered at having my integrity so easily challenged.  My temper flared at being so misunderstood – and then reported as unethical.  And my office door slammed shut as the emotions wildly bounced around my brain.


I was not OK.  Today, I am still struggling.


Being judged is hard.  It makes you question everything you think to be true.


And then as I wallow, God taps me gently on the broken and hurting spots.  And He lovingly whispers, “So now that you feel the sting, what will you do to deal with how YOU are judging others.”  OUCH!


So now I have two issues to deal with – feeling judged and being judged.  Where in the world do I start?


There are a few key reasons I need to start with my own judgmental heart.

  1. We are not the one true Judge
    • Psalm 50:6 – Let the heavens declare His righteousness, For God Himself isJudge. Selah
    • Isaiah 33:22 – For the Lordis our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; it is he who will save us.
    • 2 Timothy 4:1 – In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead,and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge
    • 2 Timothy 4:8 – Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
    • Hebrews 12:23 – to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect,
  2. We do not have a good perspective
    • Isaiah 11:3 – His delight is in the fear of the Lord, And He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, Nor decide by the hearing of His ears
    • John 7:24 – Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.
    • John 8:15 – You judge by human standards …
    • Hebrews 4:12 – For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
  3. We are really no better at heart
    • Ezekiel 16:52 – You who judged your sisters, bear your own shame also, because the sins which you committed were more abominable than theirs; they are more righteous than you. Yes, be disgraced also, and bear your own shame, because you justified your sisters.
    • Micah 7:3 – That they may successfully do evil with both hands— The prince asks for gifts,The judge seeks a bribe, And the great man utters his evil desire; So they scheme together.
    • Matthew 7:3-4And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye?
    • Acts 23:3 – Then Paul said to him, “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! For you sit to judgeme according to the law, and do you command me to be struck contrary to the law?”
    • Romans 2:1 – You, therefore, have no excuse,you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.
    • Romans 3:23 – for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
  4. It will come back to us
    • Matthew 7:1 – Do not judge, or you too will be judged
    • Matthew 7:2 – For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
    • Luke 6:38 – Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
    • Galatians 6:7 – Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap


Then I work on forgiveness.  Because it is the key to life – “14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:14-15).  And I realize that if I cannot look at her next week and find grace, I am lost.  I close the door on God being able to radically shower grace on me.


I have to work through the pain and betrayal … and allow peace to overwrite them.  I have to let go of the anger and frustration … and allow forgiveness to redefine them.


Today, I am not there.  Grace is still fighting the good fight to reclaim my heart for Him.  So what hope do I have?


Psalm 23 – The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.      He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,     he refreshes my soul.  He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.  Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.  You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.  Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.


He is with me.

He is comforting me.

He is pouring out His goodness on me.

He is giving me an abundance of peace and rest to calm me down.

He is loving me back to wholeness.


So thank You loving Father that this one episode will NOT define or destroy me.  Thank You gracious Father for Your goodness at work.  I know I WILL get through this – and then past it.  And I will be stronger, ready to the next battle.  Thank You for Your hand on me every step of my life!


Marie Fremin.  2/24/18


No Condemnation Under Grace

Am I the only one who hears the sinister voices in my head?  You know the ones –

  • “Oh, you didn’t pray for ___ like you should have.”
  • “You really said that out loud?!?!”
  • “How could you think something so bad/crazy/sinful?”
  • “Wow – did you see how fast she pushed your buttons? What an easy target you are.  Some Jesus follower you really are.”
  • “Do you really believe Jesus loves you after ___?”

No Condemnation under Grace

All these words condemning me …

  • Judging me down to the core of who I am and what I believe.
  • Criticizing me of unreal, ungrounded, and insincere faith as a follower.
  • Accusing me of being full of sin, led by emotions, and completely unable to change for the good.
  • Pushing me to self-pity, self-loathing, and self-criticism … for being human.


All these words have one great flaw – there is NO GRACE, the very foundation of who God is.


“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).


Condemnation skips over grace, erases forgiveness, and ignores compassion.  All the things Jesus died to give us – freely and in full.


Condemnation isolates us from connection and intimacy with others, declaring that our illnesses are beyond healing and idiosyncracies too crazy to be around others.  It drives us to exhaust ourselves and our resources to be made “normal” (Mark 5:25-26).  Condemnation pushes us the outskirts of the crowd, hiding and cowering for fear of being discovered and judged (Mark 5:27).  Condemnation drives us to extreme and outrageous measures to feel whole and find acceptance (Mark 5:28).


Condemnation attacks our identity as a beloved child, removes our armor that secures us to God, hits us at our deepest hurts in our heart, and leaves us so wounded and defeated that people flee from us instead of helping us (Luke 10:30-32).


Condemnation tells us to waste our time, our life, and our resources on ungodly pursuits so that we suddenly wake up to find little to nothing left (Luke 15:13).  Condemnation tells us that we are not good enough for even the most disrespected job but drives us to pursue it out of desperation (Luke 15:15-16).  Condemnation convinces us that forgiveness is out of reach and we are crazy to hope for acceptance, yet it drives us to beg in a menial and demeaning way for any scraps (Luke 15:17-19).  Condemnation looks through eyes of selfishness to see only “self sacrifice” to the point of self-righteousness and self-importance (Luke 15:29), so that judgment and loathing flow through every word and deed (Luke 15:30).


Condemnation makes us feel like we are standing in the center of society’s attention, being judged for every sin with no recourse to hide (John 8:3-4).  Condemnation demands a harsh word, a hard heart, and a heavy hand – all ready to throw stones (John 8:5).


Condemnation distracts us from all God has for us.

Condemnation distances us from all God has for us.

Condemnation dissociates us from all God has for us.


And God has grace.  A lot of grace.  God is all about grace.

  • “For the Lord God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right” (Psalm 84:11).
  • “Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins” (Romans 3:24).
  • “For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:17).


Grace allows us freely into God’s space and draws us closely into God’s embrace, touching every area flowing with shame and sorrow and filling it instead with God’s healing.  Grace prays “Go in peace. Your suffering is over” with the great hope that we accept the complete freedom and restoration God has waiting for us (Mark 5:34).


Grace sees us when all others have passed us by, applies God’s love to our broken places, and sets us on the course for complete healing and restoration (Luke 10:33-35).


Grace never stops watching and waiting for us, hoping for and eagerly expecting our repentance.  Grace runs with love and purpose toward us at the first sign, ready to celebrate our return and shower great compassion on us (Luke 15:20).


Grace holds its tongue, evaluates the wounded heart, and says “Neither do I [condemn you]. Go and sin no more” (John 8:6,11).


Condemnation shouts “you can never be good enough, no way”.

Grace whispers “you are worthy, even as you are – come”.


Both are calling to you.

Which one will you choose to listen to?


Marie Fremin.  1/19/18, 1/21/18, 2/18/18

Lion in Waiting

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.  (1 Peter 5:8)


Do you know how I know I am on the right track with God and He is working out something big?  My day is a mess and full of stress!


Yep, it’s true.  When I find myself harried by work – a slow system, a broken server, an update that causes more work.  When I find myself attacked by people – being proclaimed a troublemaker without any conversation or clarity, finding out I was lied to about blame for a chaotic situation, being around people who pretend pain never happened.  When I find myself delayed to a destination – by an accidental traffic violation, catching every red light, big trucks moving slowly and being unable to pass, an inaccurate GPS.  All this happened in one day, making me want to stand up and rage in frustration.


Sometimes I am smart enough to see the situation (day) for what it is and pause.  And in the stillness, I can remember God is working.  I can praise God for health and safety.  I can see God’s goodness in action.  And I can laugh in gratitude for God’s amazing grace.


For the devil tried to get me.

He tried to stop me from walking forward in God’s great purposes.

He tried to discourage me from knowing God’s goodness.

He tried to push me away from experiencing God’s grace.


He is a lion in the bush, crouched down and waiting to pounce.

Lion in Waiting.jpg

He keeps a careful and steady eye on me.  Watching my every move.  Looking for any opportunity to come after me.  Unblinking.  Unmoving.  Unflinching.  Waiting for me.  To open any door even a crack so he can come in.


Feeling good about myself?  Here is some anger, some offense, some pain.

Feeling confident about myself?  Here is some doubt, some fear, some shame.

Feeling content about myself?  Here is some confusion, some condemnation, some chaos.


Because whatever goodness I am experiencing, he wants to wipe that out, erase it completely, and refocus me on something else.


And so he waits, patiently and persistently, as a hungry lioness on the prowl.  Crouched low and poised to strike.  His bag of tricks and deceit ready to go at a moment’s notice.  A determined focus on my every action and reaction.


He is ready.

He is steady.

And he waits for me to not be either.


Because any chance I give him he is going to take.  At home.  At work.  In the car.  In the store.  With a group.  By myself.


Any chance is a good one for him.  So he waits.


And Jesus knew this.  That’s why He warned us to be constantly on guard with our actions, our words, and our thoughts.  To pay attention to everything we think, do, say, want, and react to.  “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41).


Because when we don’t, we could quickly and easily fall prey to the lion in waiting.


Because you might not be as ready as you think.

Because you might not be as strong as you think.

Because you might not be as sure as you think.

And you could be vulnerable to suggestion.

You could be available to persuasion.

You could be susceptible to deception.


And thus you are a target, easily spotted and then preyed upon.


And he will immediately throw things at you that cause you to question God’s love.  To overlook God’s goodness.  To dismiss God’s grace.


I don’t know about you, but I hate knowing there is a target on my back.  That I am always being watched.


But wait – NO!  No, I will not be effected this way.  Because I remember Whose I am.


Yes, the lion is waiting.  He wants to thwart me with his “wiles” (Ephesians 6:11) and “fiery darts” (Ephesians 6:16).  He wants to fill me with dissatisfaction, focus me on dissension, and fool me with deception.


But he is not the only one watching!


God is watching me, too.  The Good Shepherd (John 10:11) standing guard against lions.


And God is cheering me on.  He is encouraging me to choose love and “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39), especially when I don’t want to.  He is encouraging me to choose “kindness, humility, meekness” (Colossians 3:12), no matter what is happening around me.  He is encourage me to hold onto hope, for “hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5:5), even when things don’t make sense to me.


So two beings watching me, knowing my eternity is at stake.  One watches me waiting to deceive and destroy, hoping to pounce on any weakness.  But God watches me with love and support with full encouragement and extraordinary grace.  One is called “a liar and the father of it” (John 8:44) by Jesus.  Because all he can do is distract and unfocus.  But God reminds us over and over that He “predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself” (Ephesians 1:5).  Because we are cherished and chosen by the One in whom is no deceit (Numbers 23:19).


So I look at my day and shake my head.  It was full of nonsense.  The enemy pounced repeatedly.  But I am still standing, laughing at him.  Because I realize that though the lion charged, he didn’t destroy.  He couldn’t, because God was protecting me from severe damage (Psalm 91:11-12).


So the lion slinks off, his attempts to stop me thwarted.  We both go off to lick our wounds, though mine are quickly soothed by God’s healing grace.


And I climb into bed thankful for the power and victory of “the Lion of the tribe of Judah” (Revelation 5:5), who helped me live to fight – and win – another day.  His roar of love over me empowers me to not focus on or be frustrated by the lion in the darkness.  Because just as Samson and David defeated a lion, so too will I.  Jesus has given us great power – resurrection, eternal, victorious power – through which “You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot” (Psalm 91:13).


And by His great grace the enemy’s mess will never overcome my Messiah!


Marie Fremin.  9/16, 9/17, and 9/23/17

God’s Best

God keeps bringing my thinking back to His best.


When I at look at my choices, He nudges me to ask “what is My best for you?”

When I decide on my reactions to people, He nudges me to ask “what is My best for you?

When I consider my actions, He nudges me to ask “what is My best for you?”


Because God’s standards are high – but never impossibly unreachable.  They are perfectly complete to fulfill us, to fashion us, and to reform us.  He doesn’t want less than His best for us.  Because then we are less than the image of Jesus and off course from His perfect purpose for us.


God is the author of best.

God is the definer of best.

God is the maintainer of best.


And so He keeps bringing my thinking back to what He considers best.  Reminding me that He knows best.  That He plans best.  That He thinks best.  That he says best.  That He loves best.  That he does best.  That He forgives best.


That he knows best.  Oh, wait, I already said that one.  But it is so important that I need to repeat it.  Over and over and over to myself, until it starts to sink in as unshakable truth.


When God asks us to do, He means we need to move, to go, to do.  And He knows best.  When God asks us to forgive, He means we need to let go, to release, to move on.  And He knows best.  When God asks us to pray, He means for us to seek Him, to listen to Him, to choose His will (over our own).  And He knows best.  When God asks us to give, He is asking us to spend for His purposes, to give into His will, to donate toward His love.  And He knows best.  When God asks us to listen, He means to stop talking, stop formulating a response (lame reason), to actually hear the Word being spoken over us.  And He knows best.


Best.  Not justifying our (wrong) choices to Him.

Best.  Not rationalizing our (bad) behavior to Him.

Best.  Not denying the mistakes (will errors) we make to Him.

Best.  Not ignoring the tug of the Spirit within us.

Best.  Not hoping God isn’t paying attention or watching us do as we please.

Best.  Not reasoning God will be alright with our (selfish) choices.


Best is being on board with God.  Especially when you don’t want to because it is hard and requires sacrifice.


Because we all struggle with something outside of God’s best for us.  And that struggle is real and painful and hard.  But in letting go of what we want and reaching for His best instead we could experience the beginning of something amazing.  Going through the struggle – and overcoming – could open the door for us to know and experience His best.  And it always starts with a choice.  MY choice.


Ask the sinful woman in John 8.  “Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?’” (John 8:3-5)

God's Best

First, stop.  Stop judging her.  Stop criticizing her in your head.  Because we all have adultery in our lives.  We all have something wrong, to varying degrees, that we are choosing to do.  We are all this woman, standing in front of a judgmental crowd with little to nothing to cover our sins.  The only difference is this woman got caught – and shamed – in a public setting to trick Jesus into a corner.  So stop judging her this minute.


And find compassion on a woman who made a mistake.  Who was most likely set up to make this mistake.  And who had such a serious mistake brought into a very public arena.  Where she had to stand, possibly only in a bed sheet clutched tightly around her, and not flinch at the harsh gleam of judgment in people’s eyes.  With loud voices crying out for her demise all around her.  And probably trembling, with tears glistening in her eyes, she probably pondered her life.  How one wrong choice led to another in (rapid) succession – and trying to figure out how exactly it led her to this public square.  Deserving of contempt but secretly desperate for compassion.


And Jesus holds her life literally in His hands in this moment.  She assumes her end is near, and she probably tries to make peace with God.  When she is startled back to reality with a surprising statement – “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first” (John 8:7).


What?  He will not condemn her?  He will not convict her?  Could that be a spark of hope renewed in her?


It was too much for her to believe God’s best could be for her.  Not after all her choices.  It was too impossible to believe God could forgive her.  Redeem her.  Release her.  But God’s best was present, and it was ready to do all this for her.


Because as she stood in amazement, the miracles kept coming.  One by one her accusers slink off, silently sullen and self-convicted.  And soon she is alone with Jesus.  The unbelievable man who refused to throw any stones at her.


She is still scantily clad.  She is still a broken woman.  She is still wrapped in the shame of her sinful choices.  So now, when there were no witnesses, would He pick up a stone?  Surely now the pretense would be over.


But God continues to pour His best over this woman.  Still more than she could have hoped for.  “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more” (John 8:11).


Go in the flow of My best.  Which frees you from the shackles of your past and the shame of your choices.  Go in the freedom of My best.  Which has given you the opportunity to go back into the world a different woman who can and will make better choices.  Go in the force of My best.  Which includes a love unconditional and unshakable and undeniable.


And I choose to believe she stood up straight and made a few new life choices.  I think she realized the power of God’s love and let it bring out the best in her.


So what is your adultery?

Where are you stuck?

How far are you from God’s best?


Is it unforgiveness?  Is it criticism?  Is it revenge?  Is it selfishness?  Is it gossip?  Is it stinginess?  Is it coldness?  Is it harsh words?  Is it judgment?  Is it lust?  Is it impurity?  Is it impure thoughts?  Is it overspending?  Is it addiction?


It is never too late to start again or anew.  It is never too late to choose His best.


Maybe we can both start today.  By putting down our defenses and letting go of our excuses.


So we can be open and free to find and receive His best for us.  He is waiting eagerly to give it to us!


Marie Fremin.  6/3/17