We think we have forgiven someone, we’ve moved past it, we’ve moved on. Then we we wake one morning and all of those feelings are sitting on our chest and stirring in our mind.
The story of the Adulteress Woman is such a beautiful picture of forgiveness. We find her caught in the very act of adultery, scripture says. The religious men of the day had her drug out to the town square to be stoned.
This poses a few questions for me –
- How did they catch her in the ‘very act’?
- Where was the other party, the man, wasn’t he just as guilty?
This sounds like a set up to me and the set up really wasn’t about the woman, but more of a test for Jesus. Let’s be honest they could have cared less about the woman, she was just collateral damage.
The Law of Moses said and adulteress should be stoned, they wanted to know what Jesus would say, would he go against the Law?
They say this – “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?”
Jesus stoops low and begins to write in the sand with his finger, then he rises and says this, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” He bends down and again, begins to write in the sand.
Again, I have questions –
- Why was Jesus writing in the sand?
- What was He writing?
Was He stalling? Giving her accusers time to think about what they were doing, to reconsider their motives? Whatever His purpose it worked beautifully.
When Jesus stood to His feet, her accusers where gone. One by one, convicted by their own conscience, from the oldest to the youngest, they dropped their stones and slunk away.
Can you imagine the sound of those stones falling?
This woman is left alone with her Savior. These verses melt my heart.
When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”
She said, “No one, Lord.”
And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”
There they stand and Jesus saw no one but her. I want to say that again, He saw no one but her. His full attention was on her. His forgiveness was on her.
Yes she had sinned, she had been caught. She had not been condemned, but forgiven.
Jesus has one instruction, “Go and sin no more.”
This same gracious forgiveness is offered to you and I.
Yes, the person who has hurt you has sinned and they were caught.
The choice is yours- to condemn or forgive.
These words are yours to say – “Don’t do it again.’
When we allow Jesus to participate in our struggle to forgive those who have hurt or betrayed us, we choose to let the stones fall rather than picking them up and throwing them.
As the stones fall, a weight is lifted. With forgiveness, comes freedom.