For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. John 3:17-18
Have you ever wondered that? Ever messed up in such a massive way that you were pretty sure God would no longer want anything else to do with you?
Imagine if you will, being the woman in John 8 who is caught in adultery. She was caught in adultery, not just accused of it. A group of men drug her to the temple courts and stood her before the group that was gathered to listen to Jesus teach. This wasn’t a small gathering for a little bible study. John 8:2 says all the people were gathered around Jesus.
Can you imagine? You’ve been caught in sin and now your sin is being blasted to everyone you know and don’t know. Maybe you’ve heard rumors of who this Jesus is said to be. Perhaps you’ve never heard of him but there is a huge gathering to listen to this man teach so he is quite obviously someone of large importance. Now he’s being called to pass judgment on you.
You tremble in shame, looking at the ground unable to make eye contact with Jesus. Tears stream down your face while you try to sniffle quietly trying to avoid further attention. Your clothing is in disarray on your frame because you weren’t given proper time to get dressed. Ripped from the sheets of your bed minutes before. Silence engulfs the temple court while all eyes narrow and stare at you and your filthy sin. Every ear is tuned to hear how Jesus will discipline you. You brace for the worst, expecting to be stoned to death.
Jesus bends down and starts to write on the ground with his finger. Accusations fly in his direction, daring him to give the harshest punishment possible for your disgusting crime.
“Let any of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Jesus goes back to drawing on the ground. There’s no disgust, no harsh response in his words.
Gasps are heard but no one speaks. Mouths drop in shock. How can this be? The standard punishment is stoning. How can Jesus not know this? How can he not condemn this vile sin?
You look up at Jesus as he rises. He doesn’t agree to stone you? Maybe he has something worse in mind? Anxiety rises further in your throat threatening to choke you. But curiosity in his calm demeanor causes you to keep your eyes focused on his face.
“Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
“No one, sir,” you reply, your voice shaking.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declares. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” He speaks with authority and an even tone. Then turns to the crowd to continue teaching.
Can you imagine how she must have felt? Jesus didn’t correct her harshly. He didn’t give her a lecture and tell her what a horrible failure she was. He didn’t even seem to be surprised or disappointed. In a moment’s time she went from a condemned sinner, who knew the penalty for what she had done was death by stoning, to a woman who was set free.
She likely walked home that day with her head held high. Her shoulders no longer sagged from the weight of her deception and guilt.
Her only instruction was to leave her life of sin. In a split second, she left her life of sin at Jesus’ feet.
Do you think Jesus was disappointed? I don’t see any signs of disappointment or shock in this passage. If God already knows what is going to happen, how can He be disappointed in us?
To further explain this thought, imagine you have a son. You love that son because he is your child. None of us know what our child’s future holds, so we have hopes that our son is going to grow up to be someone great. What if he doesn’t? What if this child you love so very much grows up and commits an awful crime. You will be heartbroken, sad, and disappointed.
Now imagine this same child but unlike the situation above, you know the future. You’ve born this child knowing what his future holds. You know someday, he’s going to prison for a crime. You know how and when it will happen but you love him anyway because you can’t help but love him. He’s your son. When that day arrives and he goes to prison for his crime, you love him anyway. Even if your heart hurts to see him go through the discipline for his actions, you’re not disappointed because you knew it was coming.
Have I lost you? I hope not. Even when we royally mess up (and we will) God still loves us. I believe it hurts His heart to watch us writhe around in the agony of our destructive behaviors but He knows who we are in the end. Where we are going and to whom we belong. He sees the bigger picture. He loves us just the same. Even when we fall on our faces, commit adultery, swear, lie, cheat, steal, and turn our backs. He still loves us.
Sweet sister, there is no condemnation in Christ. So stop beating yourself up over something you’ve done. Read John 8 over and over again until you feel it seep into your soul. Let your regret bathe you in Christ’s words. Go live your life and sin no more.
* Obviously I added my own take on this story.*
What do you think? Do you think we can disappoint God? Have you ever felt like you disappointed Him?