Thursday, July 2, 2015

Dog Fight

The religious men were right.

They caught a woman in the act of adultery, and they brought her to Jesus looking for a pronouncement of judgement. Just in case Jesus had forgotten the rules, they quoted their Bibles:

"In the law Moses commanded us to stone to death such women."

The religious pick up rocks, but Jesus begins to write in the dirt.

His quiet response unnerves them. Can't this so-called prophet see that Israel is going to hell in a handbasket? So they keep on pressing. Each of them making a case against this woman with the hashtag #Truthwins.

But Jesus didn't need reminding of the truth. There, in the public arena, Jesus makes the poignant choice to hold his tongue.

And the crowd closes in. They have the right to thow their stones, and they want Jesus to validate their actions. But Jesus doesn't give them what they want. When he senses his silence is not being heard, he finally speaks. But his  judgement is not against the woman. Instead, he simply says, "Whoever among you is guiltless may be the first to throw a stone at her."

And he went back to writing in the dirt.

One by one, beginning with the oldest, the people began to drop their stones.


Not so fast. Once the crowd had gone, Jesus kindly confronts the woman whose life he just saved from the religious right. There is no condemnation, but there is a word of loving truth. "Go and sin no more."

As I watch the debate over gay marraige unfold in the new public arena of social media, I wonder if we don't have a lesson to learn from Jesus.

Many seem to believe that speaking out against sin in the public arena  is a demonstration of faith. But Jesus refused to get into the fray EXCEPT to protect the sinner who was being attacked.

Others seem to think that there is never a time to pass judgement or confront sin. But Jesus refused to turn a blind eye to sin. The difference is that Jesus confronted sin personally, after having demonstrated a love that put his own reputation at risk.

In fact, in the public arena, Jesus was much more likely to confront the religious for their sin, than those who had no knowledge of the law. We seem to get it backwards. We confront sin in the pulic arena and coddle it in the church. I've heard very few sermons in the church on greed, even though the average Christian gives less than 2% of their income. I've only ever heard one sermon on gluttony, even though the church is full of people who are in bondage to that sin.

So we keep pretty quiet about sin in the church and get vocal about it in the world.

And I can't even imagine how it must grieve our Father in heaven that we have thrown Truth and Love in the ring to fight it out like dogs. Then we go to the public arena and cheer for our dog with hashtags.

Both Truth and Love belong to Jesus, and one can't win at the expense of the other. Before we start declaring who wins, maybe we better asks who loses. 

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