Gently Restoring People

jesus_writing

The Woman Caught In Adultery

1 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. 3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst 4 they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. 5 Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” 6 This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7 And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9 But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10 Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” [John 8:1-11 ESV]

One of the interesting parts about this event in the gospel is what happens here at the end. When people tell this story it often seems to be in an attempt to say that we should never call attention to sin. The Pharisees and the scribes were wrong to do what they did. I think these people cared less about her sin or her as a person (did they even see her as a person?) and more about trying to trap Jesus. They were right that she was in sin, BUT their motive was horrible. They had not considered this an occasion to lift a person up, but an opportunity to stone a sinner and bring this Jesus to ruin. There was no love in their motive. They were using their hands to hit, not to lift up and restore.

Now here is Jesus. He rescues her. That’s what Jesus does. He confronted the hypocritical religious establishment and they felt it hard. They left. (more on this below.) That is not were the story ends, although people tend to leave it at this point. Jesus, after saving her from and angry mob, and after releasing her from condemnation, tells her to stop sinning.

My point is this: it is not judgmental to point out sin if the motive is to help restore that person to their relationship with the Lord.  This should be done out of love, not self-righteous piety.

The Pharisees and scribes were judgmental, Jesus was not, even though he called what she was doing sin. Jesus wants to forgive us, he also wants our obedience. The obedience can’t save us or make us like GOD in it’s own right, but when he saves us we are to become obedient, we are to become more like him. (1 John 5:3-5; John 14:21)

So, correct: do not judge. However, know this: coming to a person in love and seeking to help restore them to rightful relationship with the Lord is a good thing, and it pleases God. What did Paul say to the Galatians?

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Galatians 6:1

So if we care for people then let us do this: To the lost, those who do not know the Lord, let us share the gospel. This includes letting them know that we, they, everyone in the world, has been stained by sin. The good news is that while were sinners Christ died for us! (Romans 5:8) That is good news! This woman needed good news. She was afraid for her life, and–I am convinced–of her sinfulness. Christ gave her both a new life and a new beginning.

To the backslidden Christian, Let us in love take their hand, pray for them, and help them to come back to the simple truth of the Gospel: “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”

In either case, before we go to a person, let us examine ourselves, making sure we do not carry the same sin. The Pharisees and scribes would have done well to have first done some real self-examination. Even this however, comes from God. May he help us see our selves in truth and help us to help those around us. Amen.

P.S., Belief and unbelief– The un-condemned and condemned

18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. [John 3:18 ESV]

As I read this text about the woman caught in adultery, I noticed something that I had not in past readings.  Jesus is not only gracious to this woman, but to the Pharisees and the scribes as well.  Jesus, on more than one occasion, was very harsh with the Pharisees and scribes but he was not in this case. He was gracious.

He would have been in the right to say as he had in the past, “You hypocrites!” and from there to tear apart their selfish arguments with truth. Instead, he extends to them an opportunity to see themselves as they really are: sinful. What a gift! This is right where we have to be in order to know and understand that we need to be saved. (Romans 6:23) But the saddest thing happens– they walk away.

Jesus stood before a huge crowd of people and one broken woman. Every one of them recipients of grace, and all but one walked away. Yes, they dropped their stones, but instead of falling at the feet of the only one that could bring them life they turned their backs on him looking for another way out. But the woman stayed.

Which one are you? Do you know the love of Christ? Do you have forgiveness? The point is not to be a follower of rules but a follower of GOD. Ask yourself, “Do I know this Jesus?” If you want to know more you can visit this link: http://www.whoisjesus-really.com/ or send me your questions in the form below.

28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” [Mat 11:28-30 ESV]

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s