A Note of Encouragement
An Adulterous Woman
Volume IX, Issue 29 July 20, 2009
May God bless you this day...to press on!
A man was walking down a crowded street when he noticed a line of people waiting to enter a restaurant. He wanted to go there himself, but had always found a reason to pass it by. Continuing on, he looked back with regret at the restaurant, missing others he had never tried. Then suddenly he walked directly into a pole, shattering his glasses, unable to see where he was or where he was going. True story.
Sometimes we are so obsessed with the past, we can't enjoy the present. We've failed or committed a wrong, perhaps something wrong was done to us, or maybe it's just that things didn't turn out the way we planned. We talk about moving on, but our thoughts are on what might have been. Blame, anger, grief, remorse, and guilt become our closest friends.
I look at the Bible a little differently than most. For me it's not a book. It's a window. As I read, I see what is being described just as if I'm watching it unfold for the very first time. When you get the chance, look at John 8:1-12 that way and see what's happening. But for now, I'll help you out a bit.
It's very early in the morning and Jesus enters the temple. Immediately people gather around Him, so He sits down to teach. Then some officials bring before them a woman caught committing adultery. Not simply charged, mind you, but caught in the act! The officials look to Jesus and ask Him what should be done with her. Do you know what He did?
Jesus bent down and wrote on the ground with His finger, then said, If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her. Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. (John 8:7-8)
Many read this, focus on the condemnation of others, and conclude, We are all sinners and it is not our right or authority to condemn someone else. True, but there's much more, and they miss it because they're looking at the wrong thing. Turn back to the window. Do you see Jesus writing on the ground?
What did He write? Theologians over the years have spent hours upon hours trying to figure that out. What a waste of time. Jesus came to save, teach and be the ultimate example. He loves us, even to the point of dying in our place. If what He wrote was the lesson, would He have kept those words a secret?
Look again through the window. What do we actually see? Jesus is writing on the ground with His finger. What do we know about words written on the ground with one's finger? What was written yesterday may barely be seen today and will be gone tomorrow. Words written on the ground are not meant to last. They, like the condemnation of our past, are meant to vanish before a loving God.
Look through the window. The courtyard is almost empty. All the accusers have left. Only Jesus and the woman remain. Jesus stood 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. When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. (John 8:10-12)
Condemnation comes in many forms...outrage, hatred, blame...toward others...toward ourselves. But always its focus is on the past, and in keeping us there. God's focus is on the present and what happens from this point forward. As Jesus told the woman, Go now and change. Don't wallow in the misery of your past. Stop living for other people, for what they say or think. Live for me! Follow...me!
Look through another window. There's Paul, often weary, hungry, beaten, abused, and threatened. He's writing a letter about hardship, then continues, But one thing I do, my most important effort: Forgetting what is behind in the past and straining, reaching forward to what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14)
Nothing that happened yesterday is more important than what you do today as you reach for the hope of tomorrow. Forget the past, follow Jesus, and live forever in the light of life.
Take care and be God's,
This article was written by my friend Chuck Graham as a way to encourage each one reading it. Chuck has written many wonderful articles. You can find some of them by following the above link under "Past Encouragements." Chuck's emails have blessed me countless times, and I pray you sill sign up for his "notes" as they will bless you also.
Be at peace and be blessed,