REFLECT – Day 23:
Have you ever been caught out? Have you ever been found to have been less than honest, or just plain stupid? How did the person who uncovered your wrongdoing treat you?
As a child I certainly remember being grounded, or receiving other consequences for my wrong actions. However I also remember times when I was surprised by the mercy given by those I had hurt, the forgiveness offered and the freedom from guilt that this brought me.
In our passage today, we see some more profound mercy in action. John 7:53 – 8:11.
The scribes and Pharisees bring to Jesus a woman found guilty of adultery. This would have brought great shame on her family and the community especially in a culture where honour was valued and shame was worse than death. They use her to set a trap for him. However, he is tender and respectful and full of mercy.
Jesus is first silent and adverts his gaze. He then turns the judgement back on the crowd: ‘Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.’
We all have sinned in many different ways. We are all equally in need of the grace and mercy of God. We have no right to condemn others.
One by one they drift away, beginning with the elders, those highly respected in the community. Jesus and the woman are left alone.
Jesus extends forgiveness freely because of God’s great love: ‘Neither do I condemn you.’
This is the Saviour and Master we follow. This is the love God has for each person in creation. This is what it means to be merciful.
So, casting your mind back to where you have been caught out. Perhaps it is inevitable that we will be caught out again. Or when you’re tempted to throw a stone. As we find ourselves being put to shame, caught in the guilt of our sin, remember Jesus, remember to acknowledge in front of him, remember that we all need him and the mercy that awaits.
What shall I give you, Lord,
in return for all your kindness?
Glory to you for your love.
Glory to you for your patience.
Glory to you for forgiving all our sins.
Ephrem the Syrian (373)
Review your list. Ask God to show you again the length, breadth, height and depth of his mercy and forgiveness for you.