The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. 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?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 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.
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. 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 8:3-11 NIV
When I met Jesus, I was very much like this woman. Broken. Beaten up by a life of rebellion and bad choices. When I met Jesus, I expected Him to condemn me… I believe this woman expected him to as well. Understanding that I could not accept the forgiveness He offered and continue to live my life contrary to His Word, I chose to follow Him, and “leave my life of sin.” In return, He forgave me, embraced me, healed me, and filled up all the empty places in my soul. Loving Him, trusting Him, and following Him are all natural responses to the gift He gave me.
Recently, I found myself on the other side of this story. Standing before Jesus, rock in hand, I condemned others for their sin, forgetting the forgiveness I’d received for my own. Just like the people in the story, I’ve ranked others’ sins worse than my own, justifying my sin while offering them nothing but judgment.
I realize I made a critical mistake on my road to becoming a “more mature” Christian. I let pride slip in. I began to believe that Jesus sees people the way I see people, instead of striving to see them the way HE does. In my “maturity,” I focused on how much God has changed me and on all the things I do “right.” I dismissed the sin I still struggle with because I am “so much better” than I was before I knew Christ…and because I sin differently than other people.
It wasn’t until Jesus reminded me of MY sin, and the forgiveness He offered ME, that I saw how wrong I’d been. Just like the people in the story, I dropped my rock, remembering the undeserved forgiveness and unconditional love I’d received from my Savior.
I’ve been reminded that I cannot assume that Jesus sees people the way I see people. Rather, I should consciously and continuously strive to see people the way HE sees them. It is my prayer that, as I mature in my faith, I will see what Jesus does…
Sinners in need of a Savior.
Do you see others’ sin more clearly than your own? Do you feel that your sin is insignificant compared to the sin in other people’s lives, or do you believe that your sin is so bad that Jesus will not offer you forgiveness?
No matter where you find yourself in this story, Jesus sees you the same…a sinner in need of a Savior. Maybe you relate to the woman whose sin is being put on display, who is facing public condemnation. Maybe you relate to the people in the crowd, who need the reminder that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). The forgiveness and freedom Jesus offers is the same for everyone.
It is my prayer that, however you identify with this story, you accept the forgiveness and restoration that Jesus offers, experience the healing that comes from loving Him, and embrace the richness of life that following Him brings.