There’s a story about a group of men who brought a woman to Jesus claiming that they caught her in the act of adultery. I love this story for many reasons. The first is that is based on a “sin” that we can all agree on. The second is that it’s a woman being blamed and the group of men are religious leaders. It is a picture of the powerful pouncing on the weak and wounded.
Jesus isn’t reactive. He doesn’t argue or debate their theory, he actually affirms their knowledge of the law. He then follows it up by saying, “You who has no sin, throw the first stone…” After, he quietly waits.
The oldest of the religious leaders begin to back away, for they understood the secret of the law; guilty of one, guilty of all. The scene ends with a woman, standing in her guilt, and Jesus. This is the way every story of someone who truly experiences God’s love ends. We don’t need anyone else to point out our sin. It’s just me, standing in my guilt, and Jesus.
“Where have they gone?” he asks. There is no response. “I don’t condemn you either.” This defines love.
At another time, Jesus told his followers that the world would know they were his followers by their love. In the recent week, I doubt that the church at large is known by its love. But this isn’t a new experience, especially to those in the LGBT community; for many, the church has never been a place of love, forgiveness, or no-condemnation.
To my dear friends, co-workers, and family members who have experience anything other than the love Jesus demonstrated by those claiming to be his followers, let me apologize. I pray that you will experience such love in your lifetime. Please remember, if Jesus were walking around on earth today, we’d be the group he would be hanging with; not the arrogant, big mouth, religious condemners who we are all sick of hearing.
To my family members, acquaintances, co-workers who are the arrogant, big mouth, religious condemners who we are all sick of hearing, I pray that you too experience the kind of love Jesus demonstrated. I am confident that once you do, your definition of love will instantly change and you will want nothing more than to share this love. When that happens, let us know, we would love for you to hang out with us!