We’re working our way through the topic: How do you restore someone who has stumbled?
In a recent post, I asked a question about the woman caught in adultery from John 8:1-11. I asked: How and why did this woman change as a result of this incident?
Let me suggest an answer:
Fear—At the beginning of the incident, she had to be terrified. She was about to be publicly executed. No doubt, she believed she would soon stand before God with no way to defend her actions. That must have stirred up every kind of fear inside. But, by the time Jesus finished, she was at peace. Her heart rate was slowing down. She could catch her breath. She was safe.
Abandonment—At the beginning of the incident, she was all alone. It was her against the community, and the community against her. She was the sinner. They were the righteous. But as her accusers slowly started to walk away, something dawned on her. She wasn’t alone. She was in the company of fellow human beings. (Remember: “We all do crazy things sometimes.”)
Shame—Shame makes us want to hide, and sometimes we hide in our drug of choice—in this case, an adulterous affair. But in the end, Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.” Shame was subsiding. Peace remained.
Hopelessness—In the beginning of the incident, there was no way out. She was trapped. At the end, Jesus opened a huge door to freedom, to peace, to reconciliation with God, to hope, to life.
Guilt—She was guilty. She broke the law of Moses, and she broke the law of God. But she ran into something greater than her guilt—God’s mercy, God’s grace. When she walked away, her guilt was gone. She had a fresh start.
I could probably go on and mention other ways her inner wealth was restored by Jesus, giving her new power to say no to the garbage dumpster food of sin, and say yes to a beautiful life provided by Christ. But I hope you’re getting the idea. Jesus didn’t restore her by yelling at her for messing up. He restored her by rebuilding the inside of her soul.
Next time: What can we do to help restore those who have stumbled?