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People Like Us

“Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”1—Jesus, to a woman’s accusers

We glean from the pages of Scripture much theology on the precious gift of grace, but the story of the woman caught in adultery is grace in action. Somehow catching her in the act of adultery, the Pharisees and teachers of the law brought her before Jesus, hoping to trick Him and perhaps kill two birds with one stone. His response to them was epic, confounding even—turning back on them the law by which they accused the woman, and in the process extending grace to both. We relate to the woman, for our sin places us equally in need of grace, and we run to Jesus where it is found. Such assurance! What relief! We will learn more from this woman in next week’s post, but for now let’s gain a life lesson from her antagonists.

How many times have you heard or said this: “Some people [insert a specific sin tendency here]”? In so doing, we speak of others as though looking down on them from a higher perch on a tree of righteousness. Wouldn’t it be humbler and more accurate to say, “Sometimes we all [insert a moral shortcoming here],” acknowledging in our speech what we know in our hearts—that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”?2 After all, who among us doesn’t sin? And if we all sin, why point only to that of “some people”? Have we forgotten the grace we received when we were otherwise helpless? Or what about this pronouncement: “I blame [so and so]”? Why so proudly condemn others when we have undeservedly received pardon?

Paul wrote that God “reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them.”3 Our message is not one of accusation, but that of reconciliation through the grace that is ours in Christ Jesus. Then may I suggest that, when tempted to look down on those who are as vulnerable as we are, we remember both the power of temptation and the relief of grace? We’re in this together, so as we have received grace, let us ever extend it to people like us.

Father, thank You for precious grace. Where would we be without it? Fill us with Your Spirit, that we would extend compassion and understanding to all who journey this life with us. Bless us to be beacons of hope and proclaimers of mercy to people like us. In Christ we pray. Amen.

1 John 8:7 ESV
2 Romans 6:23
3 2 Corinthians 5:18