To the Girl Who Feels She's Let God Down- or Failed Too Much
"Ouch!" I coughed as brown dust covered my eyes and the inside of my throat, making it's way into my lungs with each gasp for air after hitting the ground hard. At least I had a robe on. Things could always be worse, I guess.
I knew I should never have trusted him. He told me his wife was out of town and I believed him... Until she came busting in through the door with her religous army behind her.
"That's her!" she yelled, pointing at me with daggers in her eyes. "That's that tramp whose been whoring herself all over town. Get her out of here. I want her out of my sight!"
Clearly she wasn't out of town. Did he know that? Surely he wouldn't have lied to me- especially knowing the consequences for me. I looked over at him in desperation only to be met with a blank face that refused to look my way. Had he been lying to me this whole time? Was he lying when he said he loved me? When he said his wife was cruel and left him for someone else? Was everything we had just been a means to some twisted end?
Ugh! I felt so stupid! I felt so used! How could I not have seen it.. He didn't love me. He probably never did. And now here I was being dragged out like an animal and no one even gave him a second glance. I was so embarrassed, so ashamed! That is, until fear took a hold of me as I realized I was being dragged to my death.
I begged and pleaded my case to a bunch of disinterested old men until I ran out of excuses. Was I guilty? Did I deserve to die? I knew what I did was wrong, but did no one care about my broken heart at all?
Before I knew it, I was in the dirt, contemplating if this was the last thing I would ever see. I heard them arguing and fussing. I started to beg God to kill me now before the stones started to fly my way, but wait, what was that? It was a voice... Definitely a man's voice but it was more kind and calm then any man I had ever heard. I couldn't believe what I was hearing!
"Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her."
What was he saying! Surely they would stone him next. And why were they asking his opinion anyways? Whoever he was, he bent down and started writing in the dirt. I tried to make it out. Sarah... Rebecca... Tamar... Margret... what the heck was going on? What did this mean?
All of a sudden one of the really old and grouchy ones left. Just dropped his death stone and walked away. But not before I saw a little glimmer of shame in his eyes. A feeling I've worn for a long time. I'd recognize it anywhere. Then another left. Then another. What did these magic names mean?!!!
I wasn't quite sure what I was supposed to do. By this point a crowd had gathered and I was one of the main attractions. But who was this other guy?
I glanced at the crowd and locked eyes with a little girl, holding her doll close to her heart as if to protect it from the dangers at hand. What had I become? How did I go from an innocent girl that was protected and loved to a convicted whore lying in the dirt like some freak show? I wanted to cry, I wanted to scream, I wanted to run away... But before I could, that voice started speaking to me.. to ME!
He said, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"
I looked up at the face of my mysterious savior and with a shakey voice I answered back, "No one, Lord." Was this... no... it couldn't be.. but what if...
He replied, "Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more."
All of a sudden my heart began to swell up, the brokenness didn't seem to matter anymore and I picked myself up to look into his face. And what a beautiful face it was. But it was more than that. It was as if he was seeing the real me. Not the wounded, dirty and forgotten woman standing in front of him, but that little girl who so desperately wanted to be loved, to be delighted in and cared for. It was as if he was taking pride in me, like a painter takes pride in his masterpiece. Did he know me? Had we met? All I knew was I deeply wanted to be known by him, and somehow it seemed like I already was. He was more real to me then any man had ever seemed.
Sensing that my show was over, I wiped some dirt off of my forehead and turned to go home. People started talking again but there was only one voice that I heard.
He said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life."
I glanced over my shoulder to see his gaze looking my way. I smiled and kept walking, taking what he said as an invitation that there was more to come for me. He was certainly not an ordinary man.
-Personal adaption of John 8:1-11
We're almost all too familiar with the story of the woman caught in adultery, but I think sometimes we tend to de-humanize her, taking her out of her humanity, shame and drama and putting her up on our Sunday school shelf as a "lesson well learned." We forget that this was a real woman, with real problems and real failures, who was redeemed by a very real God with real love and real mercy. In a way, her story is our story- one of brokenness and guilt. And the same Savior who lifted her out of her condemnation, is the same as the One who is trying to pick you up, dust you off and say, "Neither do I condemn you."
But wait! There's more...
One of the most beautiful things about Jesus is that He doesn't just leave us in our brokenness. He just loves us too much! He not only extends to us the love and mercy that we don't deserve, but he instills in us the power to "go and sin no more."
In Hebrews it tells us just where this "power" comes from:
Did you catch that? The entire universe is held together by the "word of his power." His power is completely wrapped up in His word. That means, if He were to ever break His word, the universe would cave in on itself and we would just cease to exist. Thank you Jesus that He is faithful! So if Jesus tells you that you can "go and sin no more," the power for you to carry that out lies within those very words He has spoken to you.
When Jesus says "do not fear," He has given you the power to not fear in those words. When He says "love your enemies," His power resides within you to overcome even the greatest of offenses. When He says "you are a new creation in Christ," you can trust that in His word lies the power to transform even the most broken of hearts. That's why it's only the truth that we know that set's us free. We must allow His words to wash over our hearts, instilling into our souls the overcoming power that this world can't offer to us. Only then will we be able to move forward without a chip on our shoulder, free to inspire others to live a life beyond their limitations.
We don't know what happened to this woman after her encounter with Jesus. Maybe she started a family, maybe she helped other women who were struggling, maybe she she became an evangelist who would not stop talking about the mysterious savior who picked her up out of her brokenness. Scripture doesn't tell us her fate after that day, but one thing we can be certain of, Jesus instilled in her the power to live her life above the trap of sin through the very words he spoke in kindness and deep affection.
But what we have is even better! After their encounter, Jesus left. Today, Jesus said he will never leave us nor forsake us. He is with us at all times through His Spirit living on the inside of us. We have total and complete access to our Savior who is there to mend every broken piece that hurts. But He doesn't just want to heal the brokenness, He wants to set you free to be a light to others.
Search out the scriptures and find the words and promises He has spoken to you. Look for them as buried treasure and ponder them in your heart. Then you will release the power you need to overcome every attack of the enemy. Your Savior is near. He cares. He's always been there.
Write these chapters well,
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