The other day, I was reading “FIRST-PERSON: Is it true Jesus never addressed same-sex marriage?” by Daniel Akin. It was nicely written and done in a friendly tone that is best used in debate. It is similar to how Jesus spoke to the Pharisees when confronting them or the Sadducee. There is a time and a place for this tactic. When done in the right spirit, it can be effective.
However, there is just one problem. Daniel wasn’t writing to share the good news of Jesus Christ or else it would have been done differently. When reading how Jesus spoke to those perishing because of sins, it was never in a tone of condemnation.
Let’s look at John 8:7-11:
7 But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, “ He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9 When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court. 10 Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “ I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.”]
When reading the above passage, a few things caught my attention. Who’s doing the condemning in the story? It is the religious leaders and those following them. In truth, the religious leaders really didn’t care about the woman. The above scene took place because they were seeking to trap Jesus. They didn’t care about the woman or her situation.
Did you notice that Jesus didn’t condemn the woman? This may come as a shock, but the woman already knew that she was guilty. She did not need the religious crowd’s help in determining that. What did she need? She needed rescuing and not just from the mob. She needed to be rescued from her sins.
As for the crowd, Jesus only said one thing to them. “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Did you notice that no one was yelling out their sins?
It was certainly not the guy doodling on the ground. It was the Holy Spirit quietly convicting each person of their own sins. In the end, not one of the crowd remained for each have their own sins. Only two people remained and they were Jesus and the woman.
Did you notice that Jesus did not condemn her, though he most certainly knew the truth? Jesus simply says “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.” Jesus is expecting her to repent and yet he’s not the one throwing stones.
If Jesus did not come to convict us then who’s job is it, anyway? First, it would help to recall why Jesus came. Let’s look at John 3:17-19:
17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.
I deliberately made some of the text bold, as a remind of why Jesus came. The Son did not come into this world to condemn; rather Jesus came to save us. We already stood condemned because of our sins.
A few years ago, I was at Seaside Height. I’m not sure of the time of day; except for the weather being nice. I was getting a pizza and a drunk came barreling into the booth. “Are you okay?”, I asked. The man yelled, “I’m drunk! What do you think, Sherlock?”
The point is, the man already knew that he had a serious problem. Truth is, most are well aware that they are sinners and don’t need help in this area. Jesus says we’re to be a light in this world. Paul once wrote that we’re to be like ambassadors sharing the good news of the Kingdom.
People are drawn to the Light when they know there is safety, hope and rescue. They are not drawn to a port where there is perceived hatred and condemnation. We play into the Enemy’s hand when point fingers of accusations.
It’s our job to point people to Christ Jesus through our words and our actions. What about convicting people? This is the job of the Holy Spirit and the Spirit doesn’t need our help. Here’s what Jesus says in John 16:7-9:
7 Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me;
Did you notice Jesus said “convict” and not “condemn”? The two are “Kingdoms apart!” When the Spirit convicts, it’s rooted in love, compassion and mercy. Yes, firmness can be a part; however, it is rooted in genuine love and kindness.
It is never rooted in anger, accusation or critical spirit. Such are the tools of the Kingdom of Darkness. Do you recall the mob, from earlier? Did you think they were going to be successful in bringing about a change of heart? Hardly! If given a chance, she’d have ran.
As the Spirit dwells in the heart of each believer in Jesus, there is a choice to make. We can choose to cooperate with the Holy Spirit or jump the gun and operate in our own strength. What spirit are we operating in? We can tell by the fruits (Galatians 5:22-23):
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
What kind of fruits were being demonstrated by the crowd? It was most certainly not any of these! How about Jesus?