Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Ephemeral Dust

"Do not judge, or you will be judged" (Matthew 7:1).

One of the loveliest portrayals of Jesus is in John 8. Those who harshly judged brought before Jesus a woman who sinned. Jesus stooped, on the woman's behalf, to write in dust, on the Pharisees' behalf, the numerous and equally sinful violations of those waiting to stone her. Jesus did not verbally pass judgment even on these so ready to condemn. In great kindness He wrote in the ephemeral dust their own sins. By so doing, He left us a compelling and extraordinary example that He hoped we would make ordinary.

Jesus came to this sad and sore world, not to condemn but to save; not to break the bruised reed, but to straighten and strengthen it; not to wound, but to heal; not to punish, but to comfort; not to stone, but to sooth. He came to reveal the heart of a Father who looks on us with eternal love, not a God who finally demands His pound of our weak flesh. And He asks that we do the same for others. Especially in kneeling in prayer we write in the dust our hurts and others' perceived sins.

"Did no one condemn you?" Jesus asked the woman. "No one, Lord." "Neither do I condemn you; go your way. From now on sin no more" (John 8:10,11). "If God is for us, who is against us? ...Who will bring a charge against God's elect?" (Romans 8:31,33). Mary became one of God's elect because Jesus showed mercy rather than condemnation. Should we not follow His example and show forbearance to others? We are sinners, too, so why should we point out the tiny speck when we carry a beam of sin ourselves? "Love covers all transgressions" (Proverbs 10:12b) so let us rather love one another than condemn without the facts.

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