Selective sins - Hope 103.2

Selective sins

By David ReayTuesday 12 Aug 2014LifeWords DevotionalsFaithReading Time: 0 minutes


Read John 8:2-11

2 but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered,and he sat down and taught them. 3 As he was speaking,the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.

4 “Teacher,” they said to Jesus,”this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”

6 They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him,but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. 7 They kept demanding an answer,so he stood up again and said,”All right,but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” 8 Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.

9 When the accusers heard this,they slipped away one by one,beginning with the oldest,until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman,”Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”

11 “No,Lord,” she said.

And Jesus said,”Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” (NLT)

We are all broken human beings whose weaknesses and insecurities can push and pull us in all sorts of wrong directions. This episode from the gospels portrays two types of broken human beings. One type is publicly broken and well aware of it. The other type seeks to hide the brokenness and weakness behind a façade of religious superiority.

This woman sinned,no doubt about that. Jesus urged her to quit such sinning. But the religious leaders were also sinning. Their sin was not so much of the scandalous or sexual variety,but of the moral-hypocrisy variety. The woman’s sin was reckless; the leaders’ sin was ‘respectable’.

When we are tempted to look down our noses at those who are going so badly and publicly astray,remember this passage. And remember the universal reality of human sin,our ceaseless desire to cover up our insecurities and seek independence from God. Some do it by wild living,some do it by feeling superior to such people.

None of us is in any position to throw stones at our ‘pet sinners’,those who do the things we most abhor. We may rightly rebuke them,we may rightly call a sin a sin. But only as we recognise that we too have gone astray,and we too need to hear the message of ‘no condemnation’.

David Reay