Friday, July 15, 2011

This is where you belong

I have been a christian for most of my life. I was in church at 2 weeks old. I accepted Christ as my Savior at 4. I was Baptized at the age of 5. I spent every Sunday, Tuesday night and Wednesday night at church. At the age of 15 I publicly dedicated my life to Christ. Saying "I will go anywhere and do anything that you ask me to do." I attended Bible College. Volunteered in various church positions my whole adult life. I would tell anyone who asked that yes Jesus blood covers your sins. If you believe in Him you will be saved. But I have lived my life with a secret.
While I believe that Jesus blood covered my sins to save me. I have felt that since my salvation the blood has not reached far enough to cover my sins. I have felt that while Jesus loves the worst sinner. He only felt slightly warm toward me. I needed to do a lot to prove myself good enough to be allowed the privileged of  being called his child. So I worked really hard. And when I sinned I confessed and I tried to figure out what I would need to do to make it up to God. I have lived my entire adult life with these thought.
When I think of God I see in my mind a large room with a big, comfortable, overstuffed chair. It happens to be green. God sit in this chair and is surrounded by his children. Those that are good enough to be close to the chair get to tell God anything they want and he hears them. A little further out is another circle of children who talk and get heard. The children go further out and as you get out here sometimes what you say get drowned out by the others. I have often pictured myself in this room. But not in the first or second circle. No I am huddled in the corner wearing tattered rags, shivering from the cold and crying. I have been let into the room but just barely. And I certainly do not have any right to approach the chair. Recently though, My picture has changed. For you see God himself, came down from the chair. He walked past the other children. He walked all the way to the back of the room and into the corner where I was huddled. He bent down and picked me up. He replaced my rags with new shining close. He wrapped me in a blanket and carried me back to the front of the room. He sat down in the chair with me on his lap. He said, "This is where you belong. You placed yourself in that corner. And I have been watching you. I never said that you needed to be there. When you became a child of mine you received all the rights and the permission to approach me anytime you wanted. You put the rules on yourself and slowly moved into the corner. This is where you belong my child. Right here." So today I am resting in the lap of my God.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Go and sin no more

John 8:2-11.
   2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
   But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
   9 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. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
   11 “No one, sir,” she said.
   “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

A woman caught in sin. Brought as a trap to Jesus. This is the only time in scripture that it is recorded that Jesus wrote. After hearing the accusations brought by these men, Jesus begin to write. The big question is what is he writing. The righteous men keep questioning Jesus. "Well," one of them says, "The law is clear she must be stoned. Don't you think so teacher?"  "Will you pick up a stone teacher?" Finally, Jesus stands and says If you have never committed a sin than go ahead and throw your stones. He bends again and writes more. As then men around him process what he said and what he is writing they begin to drop the stones and leave. Jesus, the only one qualified to throw a stone, tells the woman that she is not condemned and that not only is she not condemned she is also forgiven.
So what does he write? I think that as the woman stands there, half naked, scared, shivering, a little panic stricken she is watching Jesus as well. Jesus begins to write Levi, cheated a man who bought a lamb from his stall. Joshua, gets angry and lashes out at his kids. David, lied to the priest. He does not condemn the woman whose blatant sin is standing before him. But those who have come, forgetting their own sin, to destroy the sinner. I have no proof that this is what Jesus was writing but it makes sense to me. Because how many times could he add my name to the list. How many times have I heard of someone else's sin and thought they really need to pay for what they've done. And Jesus looks at me and writes my name in the dust. Karen, Sinner saved by grace. Grace that was bought with a hefty price. Karen, If you are without sin then go ahead and cast the first stone.
The other question this passage always brings up is well did she go and leave her sin? While I can't imagine that an encounter with the living God would not have changed her life forever, the real question is do I? Have I gone and sinned no more? Or am I live those me standing in condemnation of others without looking at my own life and my own sin.
A wise person will, with love and grace and compassion, look at those around them and drop their stones and walk away. Jesus does not condemn the woman who could not hide her sin. He condemns those who pretend that they are without sin.