And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”
When I think about how Jesus treated this woman, it leads me to wonder if this is how the Holy Spirit works in us, too? I used to think the Holy Spirit's role was to reveal to me of how much I've done wrong, but I wonder if His role is to affirm who I already am in Christ, and that because of Him, I stand guilt free with no accusation? I wonder how much we misunderstand why the Holy Spirit is in our lives?
This woman represents all of us of course. We have all made wrong choices we cannot take back. Sometimes we may be tempted think to that we shouldn't seek forgiveness yet Jesus remains near to us, ready to love and restore. The judgement of others and our own self-loathing can cripple our sense of worth. When we focus on the words and actions of Jesus those negative voices become quiet. He affirms us, transforms us, and saves us again and again. And the Holy Spirit does for us, today, what Jesus was doing for this woman in the passage.
This is so good. I particular love the order of His words to her: "I do not condemn you. Go and sin no more." Change the order and we lose Christianity. Change the other and we lose the central message of the gospel: Grace.