Forgiven

She was caught in the act, roughly snatched from her lover’s embrace and dragged naked by her accusers to be judged. The rule of the day: death.

Humiliation covered her shame as she was thrust forward. The sun had warmed the ground, her feet barely aware.

“What about her?”

Challenging glares and upturned chins confirmed the religious leaders’ belligerence. She stood there as accusers’ words pierced her soul. True words, but oh how they hurt as she stood naked for all to see, to be judged, no one to defend her. And that lover? He had fled. She was but a commodity, a sacrificial lamb. She waited, eyes downcast as her accusers pronounced their verdict to the Judge.

“The law says to stone those caught in adultery. What do you say?”

A cloak was thrown over her from someone in the crowd…perhaps by another who had sought her arms in the night?

The Judge gazed at her. He knew full well why she was displayed before Him, the intent of men’s hearts clearly seen. He was the one on trial. Again and again they tested his wisdom, a self-righteous lot who were slow to understand. As the Judge listened and saw truth of the matter, He bent down and drew words in the sand while the accusers pelted Him with testing questions.

The woman’s gaze stayed on His hands as questions coursed through her mind. What are You doing? What are You writing? She longed to ask, muted by fear. Calmly the Judge stood as His eyes of truth searched the woman and each man before Him.

“If any among you is without sin, he may cast the first stone.“

No one moved as the accusers’ murmurings and frenzied hatred quieted, seemingly blown away on the breeze. The Judge bent down to write in the sand again, waiting. The woman, too, knew the law. She trembled uncontrollably, bracing herself for the cruel blows that would finally take her life. The Judge looked into her frantic eyes with patience and compassion. Shards of light began to penetrate the walls of defense she had lived in for years. What? What? Why aren’t the stones hitting? All she heard was the quiet shuffling of feet as one by one her accusers slowly slipped away.

“Woman, where are your accusers? Has no one thrown a stone at you?”

“No, Master, no, not one.”

“Neither do I. Now go, and sin no more.”

Never had anyone spoken to her in this way. Addressed her in a way that inferred she was valuable. Love and compassion filled her emptiness. This was different from the affirmation she sought in lovers, who left her used, diminished, and cast aside. Realization rose like the dawning sun, the darkness of her life fading away in the ever increasing light. She had escaped death! She was forgiven! She smiled as joy began to fill her. She felt it now, deep within her very bones as waves of healing warmth washed over and through her. She gazed in wonder at the Judge, who asked nothing from her for himself. Her heart soared with hope, hope that indeed she could be rid of feelings, habits, practices that sucked the very life from her. She had been made new! LORD, really? Can it be true? Though she had not uttered her thoughts, He knew.

“Yes, Woman, neither do I condemn you. Follow me and you shall have the light of life!”

~~~

Who are my accusers? Who is my judge? With all the accusations against me can I put myself in this woman’s place, and accept the same verdict from the Righteous Judge?

LORD, each of us are guilty. As we stand naked before You may we see Your compassion and love as You cover us in Your righteousness, paying the penalties for our sins. Thank You for Your forgiveness, for redeeming us, making us new. Please teach and help us each to walk in that new life. Amen.

John 8:10-12 NKJV “10 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?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” 12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

Psalms 86:5 “For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive,
And abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.”

1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

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