Mercy Over Judgment
Straightening up, Jesus said to her,“Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?”She answered, “No one, Lord!” And Jesus said,“I do not condemn you either. Go. From now on sin no more.”] John 8:10-11
A woman was caught in the act of adultery and the religious people of the day thought they would just march her right on down to Jesus. They were certain they had the law on their side and if Jesus was who He said He was then He would agree. They were testing Jesus.
Imagine the woman was trembling inside. She knew what the law required; she was to be stoned to death. They stood her in front of the crowd, in public humiliation, announcing her sin. Can you imagine the whispers and shaking of heads that must have been going around the crowd? I imagine the pious religious men, chest puffed up and standing tall in their own self righteousness, believing they finally caught Jesus.
You see, the scribes and Pharisees knew the law, but they did not know Him. If they knew Him they would have known God desires mercy over judgment. Religion wanted to condemn this woman and the law wanted to stone her; but Jesus stepped in.
For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; but [to the one who has shown mercy] mercy triumphs [victoriously] over judgment. -James 2:13
When we use your hand to point at someone, our finger is pointing forward, but the other fingers are pointing toward us. Try it, use your hand, point at something. What do you see? What are the position of your other fingers? That’s right, they are pointing back at you. How easy it is to see another persons sin out and ignore our own, huh? We have all been guilty.
The woman had no defense. She could not deny her guilt. All she could do was hope for mercy. I have been there. Have you?
Our sin not only affects us, it affects our relationship with God, and with others. The world says if it feels good so do it, it’s not hurting anyone; this is a lie.
Let’s read the rest of the story.
Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger. It is not recorded what He wrote, although some speculate it was the sins of her accusers. While He was writing in the dust her accusers kept on ranting and demanding an answer from Him. When they persisted with their question, He raised Himself up and said, “Let him who is without sin be the first to cast a stone at her.” Then He bent back down and continued writing in the dirt.
Can you hear the silence as each one of her accusers were dismantled of their own self righteousness? Do you hear the stones dropping as they turn and walk away? Their conscience was pricked, one by one, from the oldest to the youngest, until there was no one left standing in the center of the court but Jesus and the woman.
Jesus raises Himself up and say’s to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Has no man condemned you?”
“No one, Lord.” She answers.
“I do not condemn you either. Go your way and from now on sin no more.” And with these words, she is free, made new, and forgiven.
Did you hear that? Jesus said to her and He says to you, “I do not condemn you. Go your way and from now on sin no more.”
Yes, God desires mercy over judgment. His heart is for us. For this reason He came down as a Man. He was fully man and fully God. His great love for us encompasses us and covers our sins and the affects of sin in us. Do you understand this? The guilt and shame you are tempted to carry because of sin, He has freed you from it!
Beloved, perhaps it wasn’t adultery you were entangled in. Sin is sin, and the accuser stands at your door waiting to devour you with condemnation, guilt, and shame.
Let this Psalm be your prayer. Then receive His forgiveness, His mercy, His love, and go and sin no more.
Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart;
Test me and know my anxious thoughts;
And see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way. Psalm 139:23-24
Be Free & Stay Free