Daily Devotion, September 8, 2020

Director: Connie Belmore

Daily Devotion – September 8, 2020
Reading: John 8:1-11
Theme: Beyond Forgiveness/Today: No Stone Casting

Right now, as we find ourselves in a pandemic, in an election year and with restrictions being placed on us due to COVID-19, we may feel some anger rising and be doing a lot of finger pointing. Some of us may honestly believe that everything we are feeling and doing is “right” and everything that others who disagree with us are feeling and doing is “wrong”. This has led to a state of division, finger-pointing and unrest that we see in our country. In other words, there are many Christians, to include myself at times, who are letting some very judgmental thoughts pre-occupy our minds instead of praying for our leaders (all of them), for those with whom we disagree and those that we might even consider to be our enemies. To do this goes beyond forgiveness, and moves us toward acting in love which eventually leads to feelings of love. The action word, love, is something we do not see a lot of these days, especially in the news.

Jesus epitomizes love and forgiveness in John 8:1-11 and what it means to go beyond forgiveness. He went into the temple courts to teach and was instantly approached by the Pharisees and legal experts with a woman caught in adultery. (Notice there is no mention of the man with whom she was committing adultery). Immediately, this group of people, tried to entrap Jesus by telling him that the law commands the woman should be stoned and then they ask Jesus what he has to say about her fate so that they might criticize him and use this against Jesus. Jesus did not immediately react to their little ploy; he took some time to doodle in the sand. Perhaps this was a time he took to compose himself before responding. They continued to question him so he sat up straight and simply made this profound statement, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw the stone at her.” He stooped down and returned to doodling. For once, it seems that he struck a note with the judgmental Pharisees and legal experts. They dropped their stones one by one and left. Once Jesus was with the woman alone, he asked her, “…where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She replied, “No one, sir.” Jesus’ answer is priceless and one that we should store in our memory banks for the next time we open our mouths to condemn.  He says, “Then neither do I condemn you” and encourages her to go and leave her life of sin. Not once does Jesus condemn her. John clearly tells us in John 3:17 that Jesus did not come to condemn the world. And neither should we.

The next time you and I get ready to say a judging word about someone, condemning them for the way they live their life, let’s take a break, do some doodling and think about Jesus who came to show us how to live. Condemnation of other people is not why Jesus came. He came to save people and as followers of Christ we should also not be in the condemnation business but should be agents of Christ who minister to those who do not yet know Christ. Let us each commit to trying to live a condemnation free day, today, and every day.

Dear God, thank you for this example from Jesus which reminds us to not condemn others but to love others and encourage them. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

 
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