In May and June, I’ve found myself returning to one story. I’ve read it out loud with individuals, a family, small and large groups in several settings. People on retreats have been captivated in a new way by this story. I’ve read it with honest people who are currently hearing negative voices, or struggling with self-hatred, or experiencing condemning thoughts towards others. I’ve read it with people who are tired. I’ve listened to this story with people like me, who need to be reminded to let go of judgments toward others.
God has been using this story to break into our brokenness.
God has been showing us what he is truly like through this story.
It’s the account of Jesus (John 8) rescuing a woman who the teachers of the law had caught in a sexual sin. She was brought into a public place and forced to stand in front of everyone. These spiritual leaders wanted to stone her, according to the OT law, and they put the situation on Jesus to trap him. We imagine an intense and serious atmosphere, with pressure on Jesus to make a judgment, as the woman prepared herself for a violent and immediate death. But what happened next was not intense or violent or immediate – Jesus took a break to bend over and write in the sand! God, through Jesus, slowed everything down and brought rest to a stressful and hopeless scenario.
Jesus was not in a rush.
Maybe you know the story. I’d encourage you to read it again and listen for God’s voice to you.
What is God inviting you toward as you listen? Some I’ve been with recently have heard an invitation to lay down their stones and walk away from the temptation to judge. Some have been asked to forgive. Others have been surprised by the grace of Jesus toward them. Many have been welcomed again into a life of grace. Some have specifically felt invited to go now and leave your life of sin just as the woman was empowered by Jesus.
I’ve personally been amazed at the brilliance of Jesus’ response to the legalistic leaders of his day. He came in a different spirit. His presence brought hope and life. What a surprise he had for this woman! She was on the verge of seeing her life come to a brutal end, but instead she received a fresh start. She was given affirmation, relief from judgment, and great motivation to begin a new life. WOW!
~ Steve Klassen