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.”
Filmore, why do you think we lose sight so often of this truth about grace?
I think it's precisely because we are all Pharisees in recovery. The sin of self-righteousness runs deep. That's why I loved your point about how we are both in the story.
That religious spirit is so strong! And we all are prone to be religious, like the Pharisees. The woman caught in adultery had been humiliated, disgraced, unfairly and unjustly singled out as the sole culprit in an immoral act that obviously required the participation of two. But one of the greatest violations against her person was the fact that at that moment she was regarded as merely a pawn by the incredulous religious leaders. They cared not about her soul, or whether she had truly committed "damaging" crimes against herself or anyone else. They simply reduced her to a mere prop that they could use in their attempt to discredit the power and position of Jesus.
I love that with Jesus, you don't have to behave before you belong, but you belong before you behave. Her sin didn't make him shun her. Jesus saves me from my self-righteousness and licentiousness. We need saving from both.
Jesus changes our motivation for obedience. She could’ve spent the majority of her life obeying out of fear of punishment. Now we obey from a position of secure love that is motivated by grace. Our judgment is faulty. His judgment is perfect. And He judged her — and us — worth forgiving, because He loves us. With Jesus, we belong before we behave, and His forgiveness changes our behavior. It’s so simple.