February 20, 2018

Donna was devastated. Why was this happening? Confused, hurt, and scared, she wondered, “Am I the cause?” “Did one of my parents find someone else?” All she knew was her parents were getting a divorce, and she had no say about it. Time moved on, and Donna’s father remarried. Scars and hurts of divorce still lying fresh within her being, Donna hoped to find love and acceptance from her new stepmother. Instead, Donna was scorned and belittled. Donna hoped her father would listen to the thoughts of her heart. Sadly, he sided with her stepmother. A huge rift developed between Donna and her father. Eventually, Donna found herself kicked out of her own home. Wanting to be loved and accepted by someone, she found herself in one bad, promiscuous relationship after another.

Donna cannot do anything to change the heartbreaking events of the past nor the lifestyle she chose. But, Donna can choose either to let the past cripple her and her relationships or to let God heal the past.

“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” (Acts 3:19 NIV)

By confessing the hurts and sins and believing in the healing, cleansing blood of Jesus Christ, Donna can be empowered to release the pain of the past and be healed.

“He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5 KJV)

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” (Ephesians 1:7 NIV)

Washed in the blood of the Lamb, Donna can realize a new identity in Christ.

“… [H]e saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:5-7 NIV)

“I have called you by name, you are mine.” (Isaiah 43:1)

 “… I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:18 NIV)

Our identity does not come from what we have or have not accomplished. Nor does it come from what others say we are or from the warped view of the culture we live in. It does not even come from our own sinful, carnal choices. Our identity, and who we are, comes from what Christ has done for us. Yes, there are consequences from our choices, but where we end up is not who we are. Who we are is what’s been done for us.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ …that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them.” (2 Corinthians 5:17-19a)

Jesus Christ, whose shed blood covers over our wretchedness, makes us clean and holy. God the Father sees us and our faults and failures through the rose-colored glasses of Jesus Christ. We are a new creation, the sum of the Father’s love for us. We have been made new! As we are made new, we are no longer condemned …

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1-2 NIV)

And we are free to leave a life of sin.

“Jesus straightened up and asked her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ ‘No one, sir,’ she said. ‘Then neither do I condemn you,’ Jesus declared. ‘Go now and leave your life of sin.’” (John 8:10-11 NIV)

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1 NIV)

That we may declare the praises of our God!

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9 NIV)

Like Donna, anyone can be made new in Jesus Christ.

“This is grace: the forgiveness of sins for the sake of the Lord Christ, the covering up of all sins” Martin Luther (What Luther Says, Vol. 2 #1839).

Donna’s story, and many stories like hers, is exactly why the life-affirming ministry of Lutherans For Life is so very important. We share hope! Hope for Life!

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from Thy presence;
and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.
Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation;
and uphold me with Thy free spirit. Amen.
(LSB 956 – Public domain)