As a pastor, I’m familiar with judgment. I’ve sat with countless victims over the years and have seen the pain in their eyes as they recount their stories. Stories of how the church rejected them, a friend betrayed them, or a callous comment cut them. There is nothing like the pain of judgment that leaves us vulnerable. There is nothing like Christians to shoot their wounded. Can you relate? Honestly, not a week goes by, I wonder if my feet will make too much noise on the egg shells covering the ground of the church. There is a special kind of irony at play when most who go to church on Sunday also feel like they don’t fit in. We all have that part of us if other’s knew, we’d suddenly feel very naked. We’re not alone.
The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst…(1)
This woman was caught in the act of adultery which is a polite way of saying they pulled her out of bed while having sex. She is thrown in the middle of a crowd, shivering, vulnerable, and naked for all to see. These religious leaders are doing this to test Jesus because the law stated they were allowed to drag her to a ditch and hurl rocks at her until she died. Jesus wisely suggests the man with no sin to throw the first rock and bends down to play in the sand while the thud of rocks dropping in the dirt are heard around him.
Now, I know the pain of judgment can be vicious but be careful not to live a life covered up.(2) See, if we get used to covering up our lives for fear of others eventually we’ll miss the acceptance God grants to the naked. Lets never forget this helpless, scared, and vulnerable woman walked away with the greatest gift.
Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”
This gives me hope when I’m feeling vulnerable and open to judgment. This gives me faith when I don’t fit in with my Christian brothers and sisters. This gives me courage when I feel like covering up. Lets never forget before sin entered this world we were naked and not ashamed. Lets not look past Jesus’ reminder that unless we become like vulnerable children we will not enter the kingdom of God. There is a courage, freedom, and joy in those who live uncovered and loved by their creator.
Maybe, just maybe, God is writing in the sand for someone like you and me?(2) Perhaps there’s room for even us? May we become less concerned with the crowd and find courage in Christ. May we stop covering up and discover the kind of grace only granted to the naked.
1. John 8:3-10
2. Maybe there’s room for even a democrat voting, beer loving, poker playing, skeptical, sarcastic and flawed guy like me.