Jesus died for me while I was yet a sinner (Romans 5:8)! He knows me far better than my accuser(s) (Psalm 139:1,2,3)! My way out is the same as the woman’s. “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 8:9-11)
No way out!
May 16, 2011
John 8:7 “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”
The Pharisees and Teachers of the Law wanted to catch Jesus in a trap so they brought a woman caught in adultery to Jesus and asked; “In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” (John 8:5) If Jesus had compassion and said; “No, don’t stone her”, he was going against the Law. If Jesus said “Stone her like the Law says”, he would have no compassion. It looked like Jesus didn’t have any choice, there was no way out!
Have you ever been in a situation where someone has trapped you with words – no matter what you say you’re condemning yourself (and someone else maybe)? There is always a choice. There is always a way out. The nastiest traps are those that deceive people into believing that there is no escape.
Jesus’ response showed how to tackle these sorts of traps. Start off by taking time to reflect; you don’t have to answer right away. As you’re reflecting search out the underlying root of the situation. With the woman caught in adultery the root was all about double standards, self-righteous judging and condemnation of others. I notice that it was only the woman who was brought forward to be stoned? Yet, shouldn’t a man also have been brought forward to be stoned? Jesus’ answer cut right to the heart of the matter.
Judging others is one of the deadliest things we can do; to others and ourselves. Jesus said; “And judge not, and ye shall not be judged: and condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: release, and ye shall be released …” (Luke 6:37). When we judge others; we judge ourselves. The condemnation we heap on others; we heap on ourselves. That is the way it works. “For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured unto you.” (Matthew 7:2)
I am a judger. I have struggled with this tendency all of my adult life. I don’t know if I was born a judger but I sure learned to be one. Sometimes, I feel this wickedness is so ingrained that no soap in the world could ever scrub it out of me; to scrub it away would be to scrub me away. I have been accused of being a self-righteous judger many times. Even now I can see myself in the crowd shouting for the woman to be stoned. My accusers point at me and rightly so for all I can say is; “guilty as charged”. No way out, forever to be condemned. And this is a trap; to feel so wicked that you’re beyond reach!