I recently heard a pastor tell a story that hit home with me. He was taking his son to school on his first day of 1st grade. He said, “Son, remember we are the Smith’s, what does that mean?” The little boy replied, “We are kind, we are encouraging and we look for lonely people.” After a while, the reply became mundane and the son would repeat it – just to go through the motions each morning. Which is sometimes how it occurs as us as the body of Christ.
“We are the Body of Christ…we are kind, we are encouraging and we look for lonely people.”
Do I live that way? Do I make every effort to be kind, encouraging and look for lonely people?
Let’s look at a scripture in John 8 at a woman caught in adultery:
Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them.
As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd. “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery.
The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”
They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!”
Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.
When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman.
Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
“No, Lord,” she said.
And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”
Jesus asked her, “Where are your accusers?”
I initially read this story and felt like I could have sided with Jesus – I mean come on’…really – who are they to cast the first stone….then, the Holy Spirit whispered to me…are you ever one of those Pharisee’s that brought the woman to Jesus?
I let that sit for a bit. It. doesn’t. feel. good.
I don’t want to be one of “those” accusers.
Let’s get something straight…the Pharisees where right in their accusations…what this woman was participating in WAS WRONG. She was no good. She was sleeping with someone else’s husband and wrecking someone else’s home and loving it.
Notice the Pharisees and how they described her…how they brought their accusations to Jesus.
Someone had caught her in the act! Now let’s think realistically here…I wonder, really how those Pharisee’s knew about her act? Did they know the DUDE that was with her? (Just saying’… ) Who all is guilty here?
These Pharisee’s had all the scripture to back up their accusations about what she was doing, but their heart was SO WRONG!
Let’s define An Accuser…and An Advocate.
An Accuser is one that wants to charge someone with an offense.
An Advocate is one that has an attitude like Jesus is to us – an intercessor, a comforter.
Let’s now look back at the story and notice Jesus’s attitude.
When the Pharisee’s approached him, He gave them the silent treatment and just stooped down to draw in the dirt. (One day, I am going to ask exactly what DID He draw in that dirt.)
A sign of an Advocate is one that is slow to speak. No loose lips.
Sometimes, I find that I can be that accuser, like the Pharisees, and in a multitude of words I make myself look like an idiot.
I need to be careful that I don’t pass judgement quickly. I need to pray more and speak less. Be an intercessor.
I don’t have to know all the answers and give my opinions because I know the ONE that does have all the answers.
Actually…the more I realize that I have fallen in love with Jesus, I see that my opinion REALLY DOESN’T MATTER!
Colossians 4:6 says “Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out.”
Or another versions says…“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”
Full of Grace and Seasoned with Salt…
Sometimes I turn that scripture around and make my words filled with salt and have only a dab of grace.
The next thing I notice about Jesus’ response is He is the great leveler. He puts it all on the same level. Jesus turns to the Pharisees and He asked if anyone who has no sin they can throw the first stone. Just go ahead…THROW.
Plop…plop…plop…They subtly, all drop their stones and move away…they knew the TRUTH of what was spoken…they were all sinners. This is where Jesus sets the record straight…
There is no level to sin.
And Jesus wasn’t afraid of those people with rocks.
Frankly…I don’t want to be either!
The last point that I noticed in this scripture was that Jesus was not worried about being guilty by association. It shows us all through scripture that Jesus hung out with the sinners. The attitude of our Savior is one that doesn’t run away from the messes or the broken-hearted, but instead runs to them…or like Jesus…stays with them when everyone else has walked away.
Jesus said at this point…“I don’t come to bring you accusation – Go and sin no more.” That is because this woman with sin…encountered grace. And Grace is the bottom line of what God wants us to show toward those people no matter where they are in life. Or what sin they are caught up in. It is through Grace that they see Jesus and will sin no more.
Grace…we all need more of that…And we all need to give more of that to others.