The Adulterous Woman
One of the most difficult things for any of us to experience is authentic empathy-that is, to inject ourselves into the skin of someone who is hurting and try to feel what he or she is feeling, and to think what he or she is thinking. In the New Testament we are called as Christians to weep with those who weep, to rejoice with those who rejoice, and to be people who manifest a spirit of compassion. If the Christian is called to imitate God, it is at this point, that we are to be people of compassion. If it were not for the compassion of God, none of us could possibly stand in His presence. What is compassion, but an intense empathy in us that enters into the feelings of another person? When Jesus confronted the adulterous woman, he did not minimize this woman's sin. He didn't say it wasn't a sin. His statement: “Go and sin no more” only makes sense if we understand the kind of compassion Jesus has for us. Secondly, Jesus said to the woman that what she had done was a sin and to do it no longer. And yet, the woman continuing to sin was not a necessary condition before He would forgive her. The moment she confessed her sin and humbled herself before Christ, He exercised grace.
That woman’s story is my story. It's your story. The only way we can stand before Christ face-to-face is on the basis of His compassion, His mercy, and His grace. He has the sovereign right to have mercy upon whom He will have mercy. And He said to this woman, “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more”. It's embarrassing for any adulterer or adulteress to come face-to-face with Jesus. It's embarrassing for any thief, any embezzler, any liar, any criminal, any sinner to come face-to-face with the light of Jesus. The only way we can stand before Jesus is if Jesus says, “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more”. We should remember here that sin is not qualified by its intensity, or its severity. Sin, when exposed, and dealt with in true repentance, is an opportunity to know the compassion of our God who pushes light into the darkness.
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life" (John 8:12).