One of the stories that has fascinated me most in the Gospels is the woman brought to Jesus who was ripped from bed while sleeping with a guy. The Law said that she should be stoned to death, but what would Jesus say her punishment should be? I wonder what would happen if the situation occurred today. If a woman was brought into a church and thrown in front of the congregation as being sexually promiscuous. How would the people respond? Jesus did something that was totally opposite of how other religious leaders would have handled the situation: He invited the person who had never committed a sin to throw the first stone at the woman. Seeing that the people walked away, Jesus questioned her: "Where are your accusers?" They were gone. And then Jesus did something that is so very hard for us to understand: He told her that He did not condemn her, either. Surely Jesus knew the Law. Surely He understood the importance of holy living. How could He just let her off the hook? He didn't. He gave her one command: "from now on sin no more." Jesus didn't approve of her actions, but He demonstrated that the way to win people to Him is not through pointing a finger of judgment but through unconditional love and incomprehensible grace – two things that the religious people of the day couldn't even begin to understand. We can never judge people into a relationship with God; we can only love people into a relationship with God. I get so frustrated with Christians who point the finger of judgment at every person they meet – such behaviors were not learned from following Jesus; they were learned from following the Pharisees. Sadly, I've pointed the finger of judgment on more than one occasion and those individuals are not, to my knowledge, any closer to the Lord than they were before. Please don't misunderstand me: Jesus did not approve of sin. As I said, He told the woman to sin no more. It was His love, however, that enabled her to hear that message.
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Seth is a pastor, author, and speaker who lives in Batesville, Indiana. He is married to Kari, and they have two daughters, Madelyn and Noelle.