"Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience,
went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last.
And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst."
Shame. Guilt. Terror. Anger. Hurt. Fear. These are just a few words that describe the emotions that surround our sin. The woman in our story was caught in the very act of adultery. She had been dragged through the streets with the shame of her sin completely exposed. There was no one that knew her guilt more than she did. This mob of accusers was terrifying enough, but now she stood in the holy place of the temple before the one some said was the Messiah. She had every right to be angry, because it was only her that they brought to Jesus. Where was the other party that was "caught in the very act"? It had to hurt to know that someone you had given yourself to emotionally and physically wouldn't stand with you during your greatest trial. Now, fearful and alone, she waited for the verdict.
Jesus told those that stood by to feel free to begin throwing stones, but only if they could say that they had not felt the guilt and shame of sin in their life as well. Can you imagine the mental inventory that each man begin to take? They stood with stones at the ready and a smirk on their face. They at least had this woman to judge, and they hoped in a few moments they would have Jesus as well. The blood coursed through their muscles and they gripped tightly to those stones. However, when Jesus confronted them with their own sins, the stones of judgment and accusation grew too heavy to hold. They were now no longer the accusers; they were the accused.
Jesus has a way of doing two things in our life: 1) making us understand our guilt, and 2) letting us experience His forgiveness. There is not a one of us that is not guilty. What you are guilty of may be different than what I am guilty of, but either way, we are both condemned men walking. We have felt the shame that accompanies our sin. We know the hurt that it has caused, and we desperately understand the need for forgiveness. Jesus never condones our sin, but He does offer forgiveness for it. You will always have accusers. There will always be people with stones at the ready. Satan himself is the accuser of the brethren. However, decide in your heart that you will no longer listen to those voices. Listen and follow the voice that says, "Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more." Follow that sweet voice of forgiveness. Recognize that His voice is all that matters. Can you hear the thud of stones falling around you? Embrace forgiveness and live a changed life.
May you know the joy of forgiveness today!