I’ve written of this woman before, but as I’ve been in this state of receiving His grace more and more, her story will not leave me. My previous observations were more about the accusers. Today I am thinking of her and imagining…
She had been dragged to stand before Him. Her head hung in shame and humiliation, their accusations cut to the core because she knew they were true. She was guilty. She hadn’t planned her life as it was, it just happened. One disappointment led to another and after a while it just didn’t seem to matter any more. She was embarrassed at her lifestyle but helpless to break the cycle. Self-worth? She had lost that a long time ago. This man’s attention turned her way had disguised itself as hope, love, and healing, but it the end became the reason she stood accused.
The crowd who had been sitting listening to His teaching grew strangely still. All eyes were on her. She couldn’t bear to look up so she just stood there with here eyes clinched tight. She certainly couldn’t look Him in the face. She had heard about Him. She knew He was righteous and good, unlike the men who had captured her and most certainly the very opposite of herself. The angry men loudly announced her indiscretions, and when He did not respond they persisted. The ugliness of her sin repeated again and again, every word a hammer blow to her soul. She had lived with the fear of discovery for quite some time and now must be her reckoning.
What was He doing? He hadn’t answered the angry men. With her head still low she dared to peek. He’s stooped to the ground. He’s lowered Himself as she still stands. This is enough to get her attention and still more, the fact that He seems to be in His own little world writing on the ground as if oblivious to all that is going on around Him. How very strange! It appears He plans to ignore their question of what to do with this sinner but then He stands. He speaks to them and gives them permission to stone her. IF they are each without sin of their own. Then He returns to His strange writing on the ground.
She cowers and braces herself for the pain. These men never see themselves as wrong. They are the proclaimed righteous in the community, the ones who are always pointing the fingers of blame at everyone else, the ones who fill the temple courts regularly. The seconds following His words seem like hours. Her eyes clinched again, her own mind screaming “GUILTY!” over and over, she doesn’t notice what has taken place. Then His voice breaks through:
“Where are they?”
What? He is speaking to her and she looks up. The angry men have left! He looks her in the eyes and asks:
“Has no man condemned you?”
She can hardly grasp it and she stammers in amazement “No one!”
“I don’t either.”
How can this be?? This wonderful, pure Man is fully aware of her guilt and yet offers no condemnation. This undeserved forgiveness found not only in His words but also in His eyes floods her entire being. She realizes she has come face to face with true Love. She cannot fathom why He chose this, but her desperate soul offers no argument because in this moment she knows somehow she is changed. She feels a freedom she had believed was lost to her. She feels strangely empowered, able to hold her head up now and experience real Hope. She knows without a doubt that she will never be the same so His next words are not burdensome:
“Go and sin no more.”
She can’t help it – she breaks into a smile and it is all she can do not to dance in the lightness that is now hers! The crowd that had gathered around Jesus’ teachings is still there. She looks around and finds the faces that were stern and uncertain when she arrived have softened. For while they weren’t the accusers that had boldly approached Him, their hearts were pierced as well when He spoke to the angry ones. They knew of their own sin and realized that the miracle she had just received was there for them as well. A few offer kind smiles. Several pat the ground next to them as an invitation to sit and listen to more of what He has to say.
“I am the Light of the world. He who follows Me will not be walking in the dark, but will have the Light which is Life.”
This day she sits with new friends, new hope, a new life. This day she met Grace.
The post Where are they? was written by Kay Stinnett and first appeared on Our Passionate Purpose.