Momma's Log November 2, 2016 (Kwrp)
The only reprieve I find is that-- in my imagination-- we all break out in finger snaps and jazz hands in a choreographed Broadway song and dance number and put an end to stress and anger we all seem to be feeling.
Is Donald Trump a sinner? Yes. Is Hillary Clinton a sinner? Yes. Both of them need Jesus in a desperate way. It doesn't matter how many "good" things either of them has done. All any of us are talking about is all of the BAD things they have done--as if somehow that absolves us in our decision we need to make on November 8th. We have all gotten so hung up on the titillating points that PROVE one of them is a lesser human being than the other.
In John 8:1-11 there is story of a woman "caught" in the act of adultery. I put quotes on the word caught--because I have always wondered about the guys that were hanging out at this woman's house --just waiting to catch her in the act. What does that say about them? We're they watching her through the windows (creepy)? Had one of them had an "exploit" with her and felt ashamed or perhaps even jilted? Anyway, they bring her to Jesus and tell him she needs to be stoned for her sin. Notice they didn't just commence with the stoning--as their law told them to do. No. They wanted to hear what Jesus had to say about it. It says "they were trying to trap him so that they could have a basis for accusing him" (vs 6a). "But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger" (vs.6b)
Wouldn't you just LOVE to know what he wrote? (read this post from a woman named Julie Barrier --http://www.preachitteachit.org/articles/detail/what-did-jesus-really-write-in-the-sand/--it's an amazing theory of what she believes he wrote) They keep badgering him and questioning him and then it says "he straightened up and said to them 'If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.' Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there." (vs. 7-9).
The other night Super Rock Star and I were talking about this section of scripture and how I had seen a few folks write about it in blogs or on Facebook in light of the recent political circus. But, the part of the story that interests me the most is--What do you think went through the minds of those men at that moment when Jesus said those words? What was it that caused every. single. one of them to stop dead in their tracks and turn and go home. What sin came to their minds that they were so grievously convicted about that it kept them from hurling a kill shot at the woman they had just CAUGHT committing a sin? Did a secret sin come to mind as they stood there poised and ready? Did they growl and grumble and hate Jesus for causing them to think about their OWN secret sin rather than give them permission to punish the one who's sin was so blatant and had been out in the open for all to see? Or did they get it? Did they get the HUGE lesson that Jesus was teaching them and the woman they had brought before him? Super Rockstar wrote a note on Facebook with his take on this story and it's definitely an intriguing thought provoking read--you can check it out here: https://www.facebook.com/notes/tim-glenn/drop-your-stone/10155246909465828
I found myself thinking what it would be like if I was there. What would I do? As I sit here--I can name about a dozen sins that I have committed just since I got out of bed this morning. It doesn't take much to remind me that when it comes to doing wrong I am--as Paul said- "chief among sinners" (1 Tim 1:15). I find it interesting that when we see someone else do something terrible we want that other person to feel ASHAMED and to feel BAD for what they have done, but God wants us to feel ashamed and bad for what WE have done. That woman--I'm sure--felt plenty of shame in being brought out in front of everyone and had her sins exposed for all to see. Notice that Scripture doesn't say she lifted her chin in defiance or pointed to the others, screaming that THEY too were sinners. By telling them to cast a stone if they hadn't sinned, Jesus was sending a powerful message. As SOON as He said the words......Silence. Except for the Thud, Thud, Thud of stones hitting the ground.
I hope if it was me in that crowd that I would have been the first to drop my stone and walk away. Scripture says it was from the oldest to the youngest --so this is not beyond the realm of possibility except for my stubborn selfish heart. I would want to "do some business with God"--as the pastors say. To apologize for my sin and ask His forgiveness--at least I hope that's what I would do. It's not easy to humble yourself and admit that God doesn't grade sins at different levels--even if we do. "What I did wasn't NEARLY as bad as what THEY did"--we think to ourselves. How hard must it have been for the first guy to drop his stone. How humiliating to have to admit in front of everyone--I am a sinner and then walk away. It takes a lot of courage to face God in the midst of our own personal rebellion and say that we are wrong and sorry.
I wonder if any of those men found themselves not only needing to repent--but to make amends? I know I would. The Holy Spirit is particularly "naggy" to me when it comes to this crucial step in restoration. When I am disrespectful to Super Rock Star or lose my temper with my children or when I have been rude or impatient with a unsuspecting cashier at a store--I am bothered in my conscious to the point of torture until I humble myself and apologize. I ALWAYS feel bad and have the need to say I'm sorry (eventually) for being a crazy person and pray that there was no damaging consequences for my selfish behavior. I heard it a LONG time ago--I forget from where--"You can choose your sin, but you can't choose the consequences". Unfortunately I have lived on this planet long enough to have experienced this many, many times. When we are in the midst of sin--we rarely see how it affecting those closest to us and even ourselves. You would think this would keep me on a "short leash" in the willful rebellion department, but unfortunately--I fail every day. And every day I have to apologize to those I love, to complete strangers and sometimes to the face looking back in the mirror for all the damage I have done. I'm thankful on a daily basis that no one (that I know of) is video taping my life--especially the unsavory moments. I would be devastated to have to re play those moments I remember--let alone the ones I have forgotten.
The woman in this story is so intriguing to me. After a bit--Jesus asks her-- "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" "No one, sir." she said. "Then neither do I condemn you." Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin." (vs. 10-11) Can you imagine what SHE must have been thinking? I have been forgiven A LOT (and I do mean A LOT) of sins in my life. The closest comparison I can make to how it feels to be forgiven is that --it's kind of like when you find yourself driving along a nice open stretch of road, come over the crest of a hill and BAM--you see him. Speed Trap Cop has his laser gun aimed right at you and IMMEDIATELY you know you are busted. As the lights pull up behind you and as you pull over--your heart is just SINKING.
How are you going to explain this? It will be a hefty fine that you just CAN'T afford to pay. You didn't really MEAN to speed--it just sort of happened. The panic and dread of it all brings you to tears as you roll down your window and dole out your license and registration to the grim-faced accuser. He takes his time looking over your credentials--you silently pray that somehow something on his computer screen would tell him how sorry you are for going faster than the posted speed limit. After an ETERNITY he saunters back to your car window --you squeeze your eyes shut and brace yourself for the worst. Instead-- he hands you back your documents and says "I'm going to just give you a warning today--please pay attention to the posted limits and don't do this again."
Does anyone else sing the Hallelujah chorus as soon as you roll up the window? I do! I raise my hands and cheer and say "Thank You! Thank You! Thank You LORD!" And you'd better BELIEVE that after that I am A LOT more mindful of driving slower. The relief that we feel for getting off the hook is indescribable! I'm guessing that's how that woman must have felt too. Shocked at first, but then so, so, so grateful that she had been given another chance.
Did that woman deserve to be put to death for her crime? Well--according to their law at the time--she did. The Pharisees and teachers of the law were the most powerful men of their day. They carried out all sorts of punishments every day in the name of the law. So--what made it different that day? Jesus was there. All throughout his adult life on earth these guys were relentless in trying to disprove him, to try and take him down and shame him so that the crowds would stop listening to him and believing in him. THEY didn't believe in him--but, they KNEW he was different and they feared him. He was the one with power and it didn't come with punishments and reprimands, it didn't come from money, and it didn't come from deals made--it came from him being who he said he was and doing what he said he would do.
Jesus is the game changer. I find it interesting that some folks get uncomfortable REAL fast when we start talking about Jesus. He is powerful. We've forgotten that --in this day and age when sometimes his name is used as a curse word (always hurts my ears). But those same folks that curse in his name often get offended when his name is mentioned in a public prayer or shared in a government owned building. There's a reason for that-- because even his very NAME has power. If you are one that hears his name and find yourself offended--ask yourself why? Is it because he is so offensive or is it because you are trying to prove that all of this is just "religious mumbo jumbo" and that--like those pharisees--you want to prove he isn't who he says he is.
But, if you read his name and it does not offend you, but instead it is a reminder of who you are. You need to try to REMEMBER just what you have been saved from--a life of being enslaved to your sins, helpless to overcome them on your own, and facing an eternity of separation from the One who created all the uniqueness that is YOU. You are saved by GRACE and when He brings conviction to your soul for your own sins --rather than letting you dwell on and talk about and revel in the sins of others-- He holds you to a higher standard. One in which you don't choose evil--you choose GOOD.
If this is you-- Do what these men in this story did. Drop your stone. Go home. And pray. Pray for forgiveness for your own sins, for the sins of our nation and for the sins of these individuals that we have been given as the choices for our next leader. Pray that He will give us insight on which one to choose. And pray it will be the one that --though a very sinful human being--would have a heart after God--like David. That they would be willing to seek Him for wisdom in leading us--like Solomon. And finally-- that no matter what any human tells him/her who they are and what they should be doing--that they would choose this day Whom they will serve--like we all should. Choose to look for the one who is willing to admit their own wrong doing, apologize, make amends with those they have hurt and try to do better.
I can only hope that come what may-- on November 9th we can wake up as a nation and put this whole debacle behind us and gracefully accept whomever wins. .....AND maybe we can all take to the streets doing a little flash mob rendition of Westside Story's "America."
Just a thought...and 5,6,7, 8---"Jazz hands"