|Woman taken in adultery: artist Bruce H. Smith|
I spent a lot of time in my youth and young adult years standing in judgement of a particular family member. I thought the choices this person made were incredibly stupid, and they seemed to be the same choices over and over. I couldn't believe how dumb this person seemed to be, how misguided, how utterly inept at running a life. I *knew* I knew better.
Then I had a good long chat with this person.
I discovered that not only did I not know what I thought I knew about this family member, but that this person deserved a lot more respect that I ever would have thought. Yes, there were poor choices made, but now I know youth, fear, poverty, and lack of self-esteem all played a role. And I came close to making stupendously poor choices myself.
I didn't know. And yet I stood in judgement.
This family member deserves far more credit than I ever gave, and far more respect for making it through some really horrendous situations. And I need to beg forgiveness for my superior attitude for all those years.
Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery and made her stand in the middle.
They said to him, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery.
Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?"
They said this to test him, so that they could have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger.
But when they continued asking him, he straightened up and said to them, "Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her."
Again he bent down and wrote on the ground.
And in response, they went away one by one, beginning with the elders. So he was left alone with the woman before him.
Then Jesus straightened up and said to her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"
She replied, "No one, sir." Then Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you. Go, (and) from now on do not sin any more."
I didn't know. But I should have.
At one point, I would have been standing there with a rock in my hand. Now I know I should have been standing right next to the woman, shaking with fear, and relieved that Christ came along to save me. I didn't know but I do now, and things will be different because of it.