Jesus straightened 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.”
This is the conclusion of one of my favorite Bible stories, from John 8:1-11. Jesus was teaching in the temple at dawn, and some religious leaders brought in a woman who had been caught in adultery. According to the law she should be executed, and they wanted to know whether Jesus agreed with that. They didn’t care about the woman―they were trying to trap Jesus into defying their rules. Jesus made His famous statement challenging any of them without sin to throw the first stone, and they drifted away until only Jesus and the woman were left. “Neither do I condemn you,” He said, but don’t miss His final words to her: “Go now and leave your life of sin.” He intervened on behalf of a woman who could have received the severest punishment and showed her compassion. Jesus is compassionate, and He also wants us to leave a destructive path. It’s unfortunate that sometimes those of us who are religious, in our self-righteousness and smugness, forget that we all are people who need mercy―and we need it before we need further instruction. Jesus never forgot that. If you’ll come to Him, He’ll be compassionate to you and offer You a better way to live.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the compassion You show even when I am undeserving. Give me a heart like Yours so that I will feel compassion before I feel judgment. Give me a gracious spirit so that I will show mercy before I give advice. Thank You for the people who have extended grace and mercy to me, Lord, and I pray for opportunities to do the same for others. In Jesus’ name, amen.
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