OOOH, I’m Telling On You and I Hope You Get in Trouble!

Today’s scripture: John 8:1-11 (ESV-text and audio) (KJV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (E’sha Cooper):

Have you ever found yourself in the place of the woman — or maybe in the place of the Pharisees — in this story?

I imagine that this woman lacked self-esteem and made a bad decision that give others an opportunity to criticize, judge, and condemn her. She found herself backed into a corner of her own making, a criminal caught right in front of the jail house.

Now her accusers felt that they were right because they caught her (us) in the act; whatever that act is — lying, stealing, cheating, being disobedient, carnal, selfish — and they wanted to see God punish her (us). Maybe they wanted God to punish her more because they felt like there was a time when God had punished them, and they wanted someone else to feel the brunt of God’s wrath.

But Jesus stops them in their tracks and shows them that it’s about mercy and grace. God intervenes and declares us innocent in front of our accusers. Thanks be to Jesus, who reminds them that they (we) too have been caught in the act so they have no room to judge.

Jesus is saying to these Pharisees, “How can you lack mercy and compassion and be so hasty to see someone punished, when you yourselves have been guilty of crimes and have been set free?”

When the Pharisees realize the truth of Christ’s words and that God has been merciful to them, they retreat. I bet some where thinking about how glad they were that they were never caught! I bet Jesus wanted them to remember how good it felt to be forgiven of their crimes and sins. He probably wanted them to see the situation for what it was and make a choice to do something different.

For the woman it was her opportunity to know God’s love; to feel compassion in action and understand that it’s about learning from our mistakes and moving on rather than being broken and dwelling in sin.

So next time you’re caught in front of your accusers (or you find yourself in the position of being an accuser) remember we all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. The best thing we can do to please God is be merciful and receive mercy.

Thought for the day: Who do I need to show mercy to today? From whom do I need to seek mercy?

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.