John 19:28-30 (NRSV)

28 After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the scripture), “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth. 30 When Jesus had received the wine, he said, “It is finished.” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.   

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NRSV)

17 So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!

DEVOTION -Avon White (Tennessee)

My mother worked, assembling heaters, to support her four children.  On the weekends, Mama consoled herself by drinking until she was drunk.  On weeknights, she releases her frustrations by wielding a leather belt as punishment when her children left a chore undone, argued with other, or questioned an order.  Mama’s insecurities led to poor choices:  an abusive boyfriend; isolation from her parents and siblings; and drug and alcohol abuse, which eventually contributed to her death.

I continued the pattern of making poor choices, which mired me in shame and guilt.  I chose alcohol and drugs over spiritual and personal development, isolation over community, taking instead of giving.  I longed to be set free.  On day, sitting, taking instead of giving.  I longed to be set free.  One day, sitting in a cold, grey cement-block cell, I found freedom as I read about Jesus’ dying on the cross.  I realized that Jesus made a choice to save me from my bad choices.  The Savior’s final words, “It is finished,” mean that I am saved from sin and from sin’s damaging byproducts:  anxiety, shame, and guilt.  When we truly believe this, we can be set free from the hurts, hang-ups, and bad habits that keep us from becoming the people god intended us to be.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: In Christ we are free from shame and guilt.

PRAYER: Dear God, help us to understand that Jesus’ death and resurrection mean that we are set free from bondage.