i played the adulteress woman whom Jesus rescues from an angry mob set to stone her.
at the time, i most certainly did not catch the overwhelmingly blatant message the Lord was trying to send me by allowing me to act this part. i can remember feeling touched by it, but i had no concept of how it related to my life. talk about blind. it couldn't get more obvious.
"the teachers of the law and the pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. they made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, 'Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. in the law moses commanded us to stone such women. now what do you say?' they were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing Him. but Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. when they kept on questioning Him, He straightened up and said to them, 'if any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.'" -john 8:3-7
at that time in my life, i was lost on a search for significance and acceptance, and the degree to which I strayed off course - in the all-wrong direction - is not even calculable. the journey delivered me to the polar opposite of the desired destination.
but that's not exactly what this post is about.
this post is about what Jesus said to that woman after the famous "if any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her" speech.
after the mob leaves, one-by-one, He said to her, "woman, where are they? has no one condemned you? ...then neither do I condemn you. go now and leave your life of sin." -john 8:10-11
i was rocking ellie this morning right after she woke up, and i experienced one of those wonderful moments when the Lord whispers, gently revealing something beautiful and oh-so-quietly life-altering. He did it using this story and its very personal relationship to my life.
you see, i've been struggling lately with thoughts of stupid things i've done. i'm talking about things i did a long time ago for which i've asked forgiveness and for which i am fully aware, in my mind, at least, that i've received the requested pardon.
for some reason, however, these nagging thoughts are keeping me awake at night lately, stealing my peace and my joy. quite honestly, they're making tense with fear that i'm going to be repaid in some way for these sins i committed years ago.
but this morning, as i was rocking ellie, Jesus said, "what did I say to that woman? I told her to go and sin no more. through Me, she was capable of that. so are you. and through Me you are redeemed and perfectly forgiven. no questions asked, no payback to fear."
i realized this morning that Jesus truly believed that adulteress would go and leave her life of sin. why wouldn't He believe that? she'd been lavished with grace and mercy by the Savior of the world. her heart had been changed.
while i will always struggle with feelings of self-doubt and lower-than-average self-worth, my heart has been changed. the One who saved and forgave that adulteress saved and forgave this adulteress. for free. He's not waiting to pay me back. He not only forgave me, but He took my payback, my painful, bloody, utterly horrific payback. and now, He's protecting me to boot.
why would He have done that if i was meant to be tormented by my past?
with one of my sweetest blessings sitting sleepily on my lap that is already shrinking under the growth of another one of my sweetest blessings, the Lord whispered:
"...as far as the east is from the west, so far have I removed your transgressions from you." -psalm 103:12