To Love As Jesus Loved: “Charity Doth Not Behave Itself Unseemly”
Charity suffereth long, [and] is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
Charity never faileth: but whether [there be] prophecies, they shall fail; whether [there be] tongues, they shall cease; whether [there be] knowledge, it shall vanish away…
And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these [is] charity.
(1 Corinthians 13:3-8, 13)
As we continue looking at events in the life of Christ that set a wonderful example for us of Scriptural love. In this devotional, we will see Christ’s loving attitude being shown to a woman who was caught committing adultery…
The Characteristic of Scriptural Love: Does Not Bring Shame Upon Others
Christ’s kindness and love is shown to us as He defends a woman being publically humiliated for a sin she had committed (John 8:1-11)…
Let’s take a fleeting look at His great love shown to this woman…
Jesus went unto the mount of Olives.And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.
And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him.
Although there was no question concerning the woman’s guilt… “this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.”
However, the scribes and Pharisees who brought this woman before the crowd were not concerned about keeping Moses law in an effort to glorify God. They were doing this for ulterior motives, to find fault with Christ. “This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him.”
In other words, they were simply using this woman for their own purposes. They didn’t care about her nor justice being done. They were bringing her to a public shame for the sake of tricking Christ and finding fault with him.
But Jesus stooped down, and with [his] finger wrote on the ground, [as though he heard][ them not].
So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
And they which heard [it], being convicted by [their own] conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, [even] unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
Jesus was very deliberate in His response to these men. Please notice that He did not “jump down their throat”, even though He would have had every right to do so. Instead, He remained silent while writing on the ground. It was only after they continued to press Him that He responded verbally. When He did speak, it was a very simple straightforward question… “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” Then He bent down and continued to write.
Following this, we see that those who were quick to judge and bring shame upon this woman, being convicted by their conscience left one by one.
What just happened? Although it is not clearly told to us, I believe that as the Lord wrote on the ground, He was writing the ten commandments. This reminded all the accusers that they too had sinned against God. This is what caused their conscience to be convicted and, in turn, resulted in them leaving the scene.
When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.(John 8:1-11)
Here is now a wonderful display of our Lord’s great grace. Following the sending away of her accusers, the Lord then does not issue a decree of deserved punishment upon her, but lovingly forgives her instead. The forgiveness that was issued by Christ was an indication that the Holy Spirit had worked in her heart, and the woman had exercised faith in Christ. The Lord then instructed her, as a believer, to live a changed lifestyle for His glory… “go, and sin no more”
Stop and think about it, the Lord stopped the public, shameful treatment of the woman and also pointed out the sins of her accusers without putting either to public shame…
By silently writing on the ground, instead on listing the personal sins of each individual one by one, He was able to reveal to each man his guilty condition while yet allowing their individual sins to be private.
By dealing with her, only after the crowd had dispersed, He was able to address her sin in a private way and work an act of grace in her heart and life.
When dealing with sin, the norm for Christ was to work in a very private way between Himself and the sinner. The only times He exposed the sins of others in a public forum was when the sinner had actively led others astray (False teachers, false prophets, and other heretical religious leaders). In those cases, He revealed their sinful condition publically, in the hopes of discouraging those who were predisposed to follow them.
Our Lesson To Be Learned:
Just as Christ refrained from bringing others to public shame, we should seek to do likewise. Many times this will involve approaching those who have sinned against us privately as the first step to a reconciliation process. It is only after their rejection of this attempt are we to begin to reveal their sin to others (Matthew 18:15-17).
Also, keep in mind, although this woman was guilty of the sin with which she was charged, the Lord still graciously, lovingly, forgave her. Many times, we will be called upon to do the same. Although we are sinned against and justly deserve “a pound of flesh” in return, we are to choose to forgive the guilty party instead of vindictively exposing their sin in a public fashion.
“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:32)
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