John 8:3-11 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 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.”
Look in before you look out.
I was yelling at the TV before I discovered what I was doing. It was a basketball game in the middle of March Madness, and not only was my team down, but we were trying to shoot 3-pointers that just weren’t going in. From my comfy couch, I knew everything the players were doing wrong, the wrong plays the coach was setting up, the wrong calls being made by the refs. Of course it didn’t matter that the players I was watching were all on scholarship to a D-1 school, their coach had just won Coach of the Year. From my perspective, all I could see was how bad they were playing.
But what I failed to see was my own inability to dunk, in any capacity.
When we’re standing on the sidelines of any game, show, or life experience, it’s easy to call out others’ fouls and missteps. From the sidelines, it’s easy for us to neglect our own faults and inabilities while focusing on someone else. And from the sidelines, it’s easy to forget our own need for God’s grace. But while the world tells us to look outward first, Jesus always starts inward. The story of the woman caught in adultery is a story that is less about the woman about to be stoned and more about the crowd on the sidelines who was so ready to do the stoning. The woman’s sin is what brought the crowd together; the crowd’s sin is what dispersed them. The crowd focused their gaze on the woman’s wrongdoing; Jesus steered their gaze to their own wrongdoing. Jesus was not saying the woman’s sin didn’t matter—he was saying that EVERYONE’S sin matters. The crowd used God’s Word to point to punishment; the Living Word himself pointed to how we’ve all fallen short and thus are in need of God’s grace. That includes me-- and that includes you.
The question is: are you willing to look inward and admit it? Are you willing to receive it? And then, are you willing to give it?
On Today's Road: Do you tend to see others as worse than you, better than you, or about the same? What is God showing you about yourself as you look at someone else's sin? Do you have a difficult time extending grace because you have a difficult time seeing your own need for it?