Read |John 8:1 -11|
They've seen me. I've been caught in the midst of an unlawful act. My guilt is undeniable. It was me.
They do not call me by name. They speak about me and not to me: "Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery." (John 8:4, ESV).
They speak of stoning me. They speak of stoning the guilty. They speak of stoning the bad. I am both guilty and bad. I have broken the law because I am bad.
I cannot hold my head up. The weight of guilt and shame force my face to the ground. I hold my breath. I am waiting to hear what the Teacher will say. Certainly He will condemn: the facts are clear.
I notice His presence hovering near. He has bent low and is writing in the dirt. His pen is His finger.
He rises and speaks. He directs His speech to the mob: "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her." (John 8:7, ESV). At the sound of His invitation there is a slow falling away, from the eldest to the youngest.
It is now, only I who is left. I am face to face with the Teacher. I know He has heard the complaint and no defense from me. I have none. I expect His words to hit my face like rocks. He says, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" (John 8:10, ESV).
His words shock me. They are as shocking as a cold spring is at first dip. But if you linger, there is warmth. "Neither do I condemn you; go and from now on sin no more." (John 8:11, ESV).
He's seen me. I've been caught in the midst of an unlawful act. My guilt is undeniable. It was me. Yet, He does not speak of stoning me. He does not say I am bad. Instead, He says that I am free of condemnation.
But, He does not stop at declaring my freedom. He goes on to say what it is for. He says, "go and from now on sin no more." (John 8:11, ESV). My freedom is for righteousness. My freedom is to live as one who is seen as capable, by His help, of being well and therefore doing well.
I leave the place of accusation. I leave the place of unabsolved guilt. I leave the place of shame. I run from these places because the Son has set me free indeed.
He's seen me. I've been declared free. He speaks a new identity. I am a free woman.
A free woman is not stuck. A free woman is not condemned. A free woman is on the move, pressing ahead to her high calling in Jesus Christ. She is marching forward on account of His righteous decree. She is free of shame because she has been given a new name-beloved.
Read: 10 Things You Should Know about Shame by Heather Nelson via Crossway.
Listen: How the Gospel (Uniquely) Speaks to Shame - A workshop by Mary Willson
Watch and Try: Day 25 of the 40 Day Journey to Purity with Abi Stumvoll. To track along, you can get the book here: https://shop.moralrevolution.com/collections/books/products/40-day-journey-to-purity-girls.
Resources for You and Your Church
Get access to the mental health awareness guide for your church here.
This guide includes the following:
Jeanette Bailey is a believer in Jesus Christ, who believes that health, wellness, healing and wholeness is obtainable with a Christ-centered and evidence based medically sound approach. Her life's mission is to help individuals, families and communities
Carolyn Sinclair McCalla is a daughter of God, with a passion for encouraging women to embrace the fullness of God's love for them in Jesus Christ. She leads the Be-Held Community: a group of women seeking, living and being transformed by the truth of God’s Word together. She is thrilled at the call to extend the Be-Held Community to include Be-Held Peace of Mind: a monthly publication providing Christ-centered mental health resources that raise awareness about mental health issues, end stigma around mental illness and point persons to hope in Jesus Christ.