There is this beautiful portrait of Christ’s forgiveness found in scripture that I want to discuss today. A picture of a young woman caught in sin. A picture of condemnation and grace that is still being painted today.
One day Jesus was in the temple teaching when all of a sudden a group of scribes and Pharisees bust in. They have with them a woman who was caught in the very act of adultery.
I see them throwing her down half-naked since she was caught in the act. Looking at Jesus they said that the law tells us that such a woman should be stoned. What do you say?
Jesus does the coolest thing ever. He just stoops down and starts writing in the dirt in from of him. Now, it doesn’t say what he wrote but I see him writing down the name of the man who was committing adultery too.
Since he didn’t answer them right away they kind of hound him for the answer. Finally he looks up and says this…He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
Jesus, then looks back down and starts writing in the dirt again. I think he was writing some sins down that the people had committed.
But anyway, after a bit all the scribes, Pharisees and the others, starting with the oldest to the youngest, left. One by one the rocks fell…but not on her…they fell to the ground because each and every one of them knew they had sinned.
After a while the only two left were Jesus and the woman, who I am sure was still was cowering in fear waiting for the stones to fall upon her.
But instead Jesus says to the woman “Where are your accusers? Hath no man condemned you?” She tentatively looks up and sees no one but Jesus and says “No man, Lord.” Jesus responds by saying “Neither do I, go and sin more.”
Jesus didn’t bring up her adultery. He didn’t bring up her past. He didn’t condemn her, for he did not come into the world to condemn it but rather that through him the world might be saved.
So where is the beauty in this picture? It is in the fact that Jesus did not condemn her. Jesus, holy and without sin said “Neither do I.”
I wish we, as followers of Jesus, did not condemn people. But we do.
There can be many reasons for this too. We can see ourselves as the high and mighty, having it all together, like the Pharisees did.
For some, it could be that we see someone else’s sin as worse than ours. Yet, all sin is the same….sin.
For some it can be a way of controlling a person by always reminding them of their past.
Some of us actually condemn ourselves by our way of thinking. Especially in regards to self-worth.
I hear people say things like once an addict always as addict all the time. Or once a whore always a whore. Or here’s one even better…people don’t change. Really?!?
No!!! Addicts find deliverance from their addiction through the same grace that said “Neither do I.” That same grace that came to save the world says no, you are not a whore…you are a child of God, you are priceless and I love you. That amazing and wonderful grace does change people…from the inside out.
I believe that we, as a people, will always have a tainted picture of ourselves if we continue to allow the words and accusations of others to influence our view of ourselves. I know from my own experience. For I was the addict that Jesus came to save just like ha came to save the adulterous woman and everyone else. And I did change! But sometimes, I do allow my past shame and guilt to creep back in. Then Jesus lovingly reminds me who I am now.
He doesn’t bring up my past!
And as followers of Jesus we should not bring up the past of others either, but rather cheer them on in their journey.