Sunday, April 26, 2009

keepin' it real : part 2

Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and Pharisees brought a woman they had caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd. "Teacher," they said to Jesus, "this woman was caught in the very act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?"
They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, "All right, stone her. But let those who have never sinned throw the first stones!" Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust. 
When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to her, "Where are your accusers? Didn't even one of them condemn you?"
"No, Lord," she said.
And Jesus said, "Neither do I. Go and sin no more."
JOHN 8:1-11
I love this. I really really really love this. When I read this passage, I wonder about that woman. In those times, women were bought and sold like property. Daughters were used to advance their families- their beauty was currency. Women had no voice. They were there solely for whatever purpose their husbands wished to put them to. They bore children. Most desirably, they bore sons. I wonder about this woman. What if, she grew up with a boy two homes away?What if she was absolutely beautiful? What if she and that boy fell in love? What if they were best friends? What if the boy adored her? What if her beauty caught the eye of a man with wealth or status? What if she was forced to marry? I suppose these things are irrelevant to the story. The story is about Jesus and the adulteress. You are given everything you need to know. Clearly, having had two daughters outside of marriage, I am what some may call an adulteress. God and I have had many conversations about this part of my life. Even inside of the church, I have felt totally judged for my sin. Stones of a different kind were cast. But here, in this story, I found peace. Anyone willing to judge me for my sin, is assuming an authority that only Jesus has. You know what Jesus said? He said, "Any of you without sin cast the first stone." 
Now for me, this works both ways. It is easy, especially when it is a sin that we don't struggle with, to pass judgement. I have passed unfair judgement. Most certainly, we all have at one time or another. I understand how my sin is interpreted by my fellow followers. I understand the judgement that other people pass. None of them know me like God knows me. None of them have walked in my shoes. That is why I wonder about the adulteress. She had a story. Those people couldn't know her like God knew her. While I find peace in this passage while enduring judgement, I must remember it when I start to pass judgement myself. Jesus did not condemn the adulteress. And that was the perfect thing to do.
Jesus also commanded her to "Go and sin no more." To me, this means that we can start over. We can change, from this point forward, any act that separates us from God. Jesus was protecting her. Hundreds of years later, He is protecting me.
Seriously, why in the world would we weaken each other by condemning one another? By doing so, we ultimately weaken ourselves. And we assume an authority only God has. The irony: ONLY by the blood of Jesus do any of us enter into the Kingdom of Heaven- not by act or deed. And yet, we are all paying such close attention to the acts and deeds...
I want to be more like Jesus. I will try my whole life long. I think it starts with studying what He did during His time here on Earth. I hold His encounter with the adulteress near to my heart. 

1 comment:

  1. Great post! (And I'm so glad you're "keepin' it real," as it reminds me to do the same.)

    I've been enduring a totally different kind of judgment lately, and it has helped me see how judgmental I actually am (despite thinking otherwise). I still catch myself thinking awful things about other people sometimes--it's worth a reminder that I need to strive to be otherwise.

    So thanks. :)