Sunday, July 5, 2009

Judge Not

As promised, following is the script I wrote for Girls Camp- an account of the woman taken in adultery in my own words.

On one of the darkest days of my life, I came face to face with goodness.

I am a married woman. I was caught in the act of adultery by a group of angry men who immediately took me to face judgment. I was not properly dressed nor put together and as we entered the temple I felt naked, humiliated and exposed- not to mention unworthy to be in the temple.

My accusers dragged me in front of a man I had heard much talk of in the city. He was sitting in front of a group of people, teaching. I was degraded as the angry mob began spilling the details to this man whom the people called Jesus. Immediately, I fell to the damp earth in shame, hoping it might swallow me up.

The men intended to catch Jesus in a trap. They told him they had caught me in the very act of adultery. The law dictated that a person caught in adultery must be stoned, although this law had long since been abandoned or uninforced by the Jews. Still, they demanded I should be stoned to death, and then they asked Jesus, “What sayest thou?” Perhaps they were intending for Jesus to declare the law obsolete, which would be proof that he was presuming himself to be above the Law of Moses. Had Jesus proclaimed that I should suffer death, my accusers would have said Jesus was defying Roman authorities who were the only ones authorized to approve capital punishment. If he had said I should go unpunished, they would have charged him with disrespect for the Law of Moses.

I could hear the murmurs of the crowd and wished that I could be swept away from this place- but here I was, caught in the act of doing something that I should not- and I knew I must face the consequences of my actions. I could not do enough to hide my face, wondering if there might be someone I knew among all these people.

The longer the men spoke, the more clear it became to me that they were more interested in condemning Jesus than finding justice for my sin.

Immediately Jesus stooped down. My first instinct was to cover my head with my hands, believing that he was seeking a stone. Instead, with his finger, he began to write in the dirt as though he heard them not- and I relaxed my tense hands.

The men continued pressing Jesus for an answer. Jesus lifted himself up and the crowd quieted. It was at this moment I heard him tell the men, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”

He again stooped to the earth and wrote on the ground. And again, the people fell silent.

The mob began to disperse, one by one, being convicted by their own conscience and I was left alone with Jesus. He did not leave me. He asked me where my accusers were? Had any of them condemned me?

I answered, “No man, Lord.”

And Jesus spoke the kindest words anyone had ever spoken to me, “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.”

He never left me. Through the whole ordeal, he stayed and protected me from my accusers. He didn’t forgive me, yet he gave me hope that I could be forgiven. I felt neither condemned nor judged by Jesus but rather that I could repent and turn away from this sin and have a second chance to live worthily. Jesus didn’t worry about the trap that the men were trying to catch him in, instead his concern was for me - he showed me charity and taught me a better way. And in the process invited the men to examine their own lives. He focused on turning the men away and encouraging them to leave the temple, thus preserving the holiness of that place- and inviting me to become a better me.

Not once throughout the experience did Jesus cause me to feel embarrassed or ashamed. He instead taught me that when I make an incorrect decision I am always welcomed by His loving arms, and that I am a beloved daughter of God, worthy of His dignity.

I have never felt more love from an individual than I did on that day.

As I slowly walked the dusty road to my home to face my husband with the knowledge that my sin was public, I felt a joy I had never before experienced. I had been accepted by the one person whose life was the most opposite of mine- and still He loved me. I had been in His presence and had felt of His goodness. And now I knew that I wanted to change and he had taught me how I could do it.

A painful truth I learned was that because of my sin, I could not remain in His presence. But once I repented and promised to forsake that sin, He would always dwell with me.


Ruth P said...

Wonderful. Thank you for sharing.

Cynthia said...

Thank you so much for sharing this!
You see, I've unexpectedly found myself in the place of those accusers and trying to decide what to do.

My husband was married (no kids) many years ago to a woman who pretended to be righteous every Sunday but cheated on him behind his back. She rode off into the sunset with the 'Other Man' and over the years MY job has been to heal the pain SHE caused through her unrighteousness.

All these years later, I've discoved she and I have a mutual friend. I've found myself so tempted to tell this friend about the horrible things the ex did. I've fought within myself. I've tried to justify it by telling myself it was time for her to experience some consequences for the pain she created for others. Rationalizations.

And yet the better part of me has remained silent even though I don't want to. I've kept my mouth shut exactly because of Christ's example in this incident. And while it irritates me that she's parading about as some paragon of virtue when, in my potentially flawed judgement, she is a fake, it isn't for me to take justice into my hands.

Lately I've especially struggled with this when our mutual friend goes on about how 'wonderful' she is and know that the power to shame his ex is within my hands- just as it was the accusers. And I am just as unworthy to throw that stone as they were.

So THANK YOU for posting this script. Thank you for making it feel so real and reminding me that He alone has the responsibility to decide what is right and fair and just. I'm better off focusing on and resolving my own sins and be grateful that the shame of adultery isn't something I have to live with personally. Thank you!

Cynthia said...

Oh- and I've also kept silent because it is her very unrighteous choice that made possible the life I have today. Were it not for her 'sin', I wouldn't have my husband and children. It feels weird to need to be grateful for her weaknesses and to have profited from them personally so I guess my silence is also a way of showing gratitude to the Lord for the life he's given me.

uniquelynat said...

thanks! very thought-provoking. & beautifully said.

Shannon said...

You did a great job. I appreciate the thoughts.

I've had the same issue with blogger not being able to cut and paste. Glad you figured it out.

farmerswife17 said...

This post came at the most perfect time for me. I have issues with one of my sister in laws.

I have tried not to dwell on things of late and through prayer and fasting have been able to push thoughs out of my head, but today, due to beginning a conversation with someone yesterday, I have been justifying and thinking of all the things that bug me about her.

I can't completely trust what she says. They are small in comparison to what they could be, but none the less she projects and talks about herself one way, but I see her live her life, contradictory to what she says. And the way she brown noses my parents to get what she wants really drives me insane.
Sorry, I'm doing it again.

What I am meaning to say is that your script is really helping me to put things into perspective and focus on my many faults, instead of the SIL.

Thanks for sharing your gift of retelling the this story of Christ's unconditional love for ALL of us sinners.

You are truely inspired. And maybe the post wouldn't copy because some of us needed to read it today and not yesterday? :)

I truely wish I had a friend like you in person who lived close by.

Mechelle said...

It brings many things into perspective; the woman, the accusers, the situation, and most of all Jesus' words and actions. Must have been a very emotional night. Thanks for sharing.

wonder woman said...

fantastic. love it. glad you got it up.