So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, 'He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.' And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, 'Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?'
She said, 'No one, Lord.'
And Jesus said to her, 'Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.'
Over and over, religious leaders tried to trap Jesus into making a mistake. By presenting Him with the adulterous woman, they hoped to put the Healer in a life-breaking position: By Law, He must prescribe death.
Consider her unhappy heart: humiliated before an angry mob.
Consider their condemning heads: 'Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, 'Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the Law, commanded us that such should be stoned... what do You say?' ' (John 8:3-5).*
But the sinless Man would not be caught. Because a soft heart beats a hard head. In godly irony, the perfectly soft Heart of a master Carpenter hammered her accusers with an irrefutable truth: 'Mercy triumphs over judgment' (James 2:13).
Actors, models and talent for Christ: When you're asked to judge a sinner, refuse the role. When you're tempted to join an angry mob, don't. Instead, lower your head and follow the example of Jesus.
Rather than pronounce a verdict of guilt or innocence, humble the hearts of the accusers. How? Use God's Word. To Christians, It is inarguable:
'Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?' (Matthew 7:1-3).
'Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you... have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith' (Matthew 23:23).
'There is one Lawgiver, Who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another?' (James 4:12).
'Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, Who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts' (1 Corinthians 4:5).
When faced with a choice of rules from the head or mercy from the heart, choose the heart--every time. In mercy, you cannot fail.
To Be Continued...
* See John 8:1-11: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John%208:1-11&version=NKJV
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Priorities series.