I wrote this several years ago, and as I was reading this passage this morning, the Holy Spirit revealed something new to me (which is why we read the Scriptures over and over and over – there’s always something new to learn.)
I have always been drawn to the story of the woman caught in adultery (see John 8:1-11), mostly because I can see myself in two of the main characters. So many times I am part of the judgmental crowd. Like the religious leaders, I catch someone and call them out, accusing them and looking on with scorn. Oh, I’m never obvious about it mind you – it’s all done in my head – but I might as well have drug them before the church because I’ve declared them guilty. Yet, I have also been the woman, the sinner caught in the act standing before Jesus shamed and ashamed. I know I am guilty as I stand clutching my sheet of self-reproach, trying to cover my nakedness and my sin.
Here is where something new came to me. I initially said that Jesus sees me in both roles and reminds me of my own sinfulness as He calls me to drop my rock of condemnation. But I realized that I was wrong. Because I am washed in His blood, my sin has been removed – “As far as the east is from the west” (Ps 103:12) never to be remembered again. He will never throw my sin back in my face. He may gently chastise me for my judgmental attitude, but He does not remind me of my past transgressions because He has forgotten them. That’s huge to me, because I have an enemy who loves to taunt me with my past – and I have a past that gives him lots of ammunition. But Jesus steps in with His scars and declares me forgiven and free.
After He turned her accusers away, Jesus told the woman He did not condemn her. He didn’t even condemn her accusers. He condemns no one. Paul said that He is the only one who rightly could, but He doesn’t (Rom 8:34). Instead, He sacrificed Himself to take away the condemnation our sin has heaped on us. Yes, sometimes you and I are both the accused and the accuser, but oh, to be like the One who pours out grace and mercy to all who believe. Lord, help me to be more like you and less like me.