Grace that Forgives (16-02-22)
Bible Reading: John 8:3-5 7-11
The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. When they kept on questioning him, he said to them, "Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her." At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" "No one, sir," she said. "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."
Safety on our roads is important and therefore logically, so are speed restrictions. Unfortunately for many of us who get caught by a speed camera, rules without penalties have no teeth and there are very few mitigating circumstances. But even in the harshness of the speeding regulations there is an element of grace for the occasional transgressor. The fine still applies but attending a ‘speed awareness course’ will cancel the penalty points and render your licence clean. Like me, you probably know that!
The objective here is not to punish individuals, but to encourage safe driving. I think there was something similar going on with the way that Jesus was treating the woman who had been caught in adultery.
In our world today there is a lot of anger, a lot of criticism over what people have or haven’t done, a lot of hidden agendas and a lot of opinions and judgements being given by people who don’t know all the facts.
There were also many unanswered questions in our bible reading, not least ‘What about the man?’ ‘What were the real motives of the accusers?’ and ‘How sin-free were the accusers themselves?’
Billy Graham, who had an audience with thirteen consecutive American presidents and prayed with them through many tumultuous times in the USA and in the personal lives of many of the presidents said this, ‘It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, God's job to judge and my job to love’.
Rules are important and Jesus never condones sin, but he does look beyond the sin to the person themselves and to what they can become. As with the speed awareness course, his goal is that we all travel through this life safely and without hurting anyone else. To all of us he offers the grace of forgiveness and a new start with a clean licence, regardless of the transgression. And where there is a penalty to pay, he has already paid it. And that is amazing grace.
As recipients of amazing grace, let us also then be people who demonstrate the amazing grace of forgiveness to others.
Lord Jesus, who forgives my sin, give me the grace to look beyond the sin of others and to forgive those who have hurt me.
This is amazing grace