by SCOTT SAULS
DECEMBER 12, 2016
I love how Jesus related to damaged, condemned people.
A woman sins against God and is caught in the act of adultery. She wrecks a home. She brings shame upon herself and her community. Pious men take her shame public. “Lawbreakers must not be tolerated,” they think. “She must be condemned for her behavior, cast out for her infidelities, shamed for her shameful act. She must be made into an example.”
This is what happens in a group of people who have sound theology but are lacking in love. A Colosseum culture develops. Everyone rallies around a common enemy—the sinner. Robbers, evildoers, tax collectors, adulterers and adulteresses. And then the pouncing and the piling on. The shaming.
What’s wrong with the world? “Other people,” says the mob surrounding the adulteress. “What’s wrong with the world is other people … those who aren’t one of us.”
But not Jesus. Jesus, left alone with the woman, simply says to her two things: “I do not condemn you. Now leave your life of sin.” The order of these two sentences is everything. Reverse the order of these two sentences and you’ll lose Christianity. Reverse the order and you’ll lose Jesus.
As was the case with Jesus, so it will be with his people when we create environments that communicate “no condemnation” first, before we ever start talking about law, obedience and ethics. Because with Jesus, grace and love establish the environment for the morality conversation. It is not our repentance that leads to God’s kindness, but God’s kindness that leads to our repentance. (Press on link below to read more of this article.)