We live in an amazing time of immediate gratification. Information and data at our fingertips. Information which must be filtered and understood. We may find ourselves taking in information, making rash decisions / judgements based on popular opinion or even cultural bias.
With this ability comes a great responsibility. Not only must we filter what comes in, we must filter what goes out. Proverbs 4:23 (NIV) tells us “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” What comes in, will go out.
Be very careful friends, Jesus was very specific in Luke 6:37 (NIV) “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”
But good news! We have been given a guide, The Holy Spirit walks with us and with God’s Word, we have an amazing opportunity to be able to seek truth to filter the information we take in. And more importantly, a guide to help us LIVE OUR LIVES.
Everything I need to know has an answer in The Bible, with a translator that walks with me to navigate what I am taught. If I want to sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to His teaching, I only have to open His Word.
I was up all last night thinking about recent news articles and about our culture in general. My heart is heavy because there is great confusion over what is acceptable behavior and opinion; asking the question, What should we as Christians do?
So, in taking it to the Lord, He led me to John 8.
In John 8:1-11 there is a story of a woman. We don’t know much about her, whether she was old or young. We know that she was someone’s daughter. Possibly someone’s sister, someone’s mother and/or someone’s wife.
We also know that she was found in a very grave and humiliating situation. She was caught in the act of adultery.
Now, in our day and age, many may consider this to be no big deal. But during Jesus’ day this would generate great persecution even death if witnessed by 2 or more. The law of the day given by Moses called for both the adulterer and the adulteress to be put to death.
Consider the scene. The Pharisees and the teachers of the law bring this woman in to Jesus’ presence while He is teaching. This woman is more than likely very scared to be brought into the temple courts after being found in such a state. I am certain there was shame and worry for her life. Did she stand straight and proud or was she slumped in her worry for her situation? Her accusers more than likely acted like a lynch mob ready to burn her at the stake.
They wanted justice.
Verse 3 tells us: They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” Now they were using this question as a trap, to trap Him so they could in fact accuse Him; however, I think it’s important to note 2 words they used: “such women.” Sound familiar? How many times have we been tempted to say, “That woman” or “That man”, forcing our own definition on one based on our own judgement and bias. Our definition of another does not make it truth.
Verse 6 goes on to share that Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with His finger. We don’t know what Jesus wrote, there is speculation that He wrote the Ten Commandments, or possibly even the names / sins of her accusers. Regardless of what He wrote, it is what came next which is profound. “When they kept on questioning Him, He straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground.
Now, I have to admit, this is the time where I wish I could have been there. When I think of Jesus the Teacher, I see His compassionate eyes. I see His Calm demeanor. I hear His strong Voice, not loud but penetrating, so that everyone in His Presence stops to hear what He has to say. So when He went quiet, can you imagine? I’ll bet you could cut the air with a knife. . . .
At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.
ONLY JESUS WAS LEFT. What an amazing position to be in!! What is it that we are told that the only things we can be certain of are death and taxes? Well, one thing is sure, when you are the only one left standing and you know Jesus, He is standing with you!!!
Jesus straightens up and asks her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
Now, this is where the tears begin. I so long to have His compassionate and penetrating gaze on me and in this moment, I KNOW that this woman felt his gaze straight to her bones.
“No one, sir,” she said. Did she know Jesus? Did she recognize His Power? His compassion? Did she too shed a tear?
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
Now, note that Jesus did not say: “The Bible says that you are a sinner and you need to repent or else suffer . . . “ He didn’t take the time to peruse popular opinion to see what everyone else thought of the situation or what He should do about the situation taking action on voting polls. He didn’t even serve as her judge and jury. The law was specific that there had to be two or more witnesses and Jesus nor her lynch mob were witnesses to her crime.
I think that this woman would want us to see these things and hear these words from Jesus loud and clear: “Then neither do I condemn you.”
I think she would whisper John 3:16-17 to us: God so loved THE WORLD that He gave His One and Only Son, that WHOEVER believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.
I think she would lovingly remind us that we are all guilty. Romans 3:23 tells us that: “We have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” But I think she too would want us to know the rest of this truth: verse 24 says that “We are ALL justified FREELY by HIS GRACE through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
So what should we do with this today? I think that this woman, this beautiful Creation of God, would remind us that His Grace is freely given to all of us who accept Him. ALL OF US. There is no bias based on color, gender, social status or financial status. I think that she would share her story of Grace and God’s Mercy with us and remind us of His great Love and how only His definition of us truly matters. Only He knows our heart. I think she would remind us of Jesus’ teaching for us to Love God and to Love our neighbor as ourselves in Matthew 22:37-39. And finally I think she would remind us to seek Godly counsel through prayer and devotion for our own lives, remaining open to serve as His Hands and Feet as He calls us continuing to pray for the world. Remembering that if we are ever called in by God to judge a situation, it is only to provide protective boundaries around us or to help fellow believers. And should only be done in Love. (1 Corinthians 5:12-13.)
Friends, we have an amazing opportunity to share His Light and Love, and through us He can heal a generation . . .
Father, I pray that You will fill us with Your Wisdom. Help us to be salt and light as You have called and help us Lord to LOVE others as You have called us to do. We thank You that our greatest gift died on a Cross which is level at the base for us all. We thank You that when all others fall away, You will stand with us. We turn our eyes to You and ask that You guide us in our Love, in our Actions and our Words.
We Love You. AMEN
Your Humbled Daughter