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Jesus loves the sinner, not the sin

Text: John 8: 1-11

Focus: John 8: 7

The purpose of these events was to cast doubt on Jesus’ credibility. If He, against the law of Moses, were to say that they should not stone her, His integrity would be done with it. This would mean He did not accept the law of Moses.

If He were to say that they should stone her, His reputation as someone with deep compassion and forgiveness, would be questioned. Above all, they would be able to extradite Him to the Roman authorities, for the Jews were forbidden to carry out a death sentence themselves.

This passage should make us think about our way of dealing with sin in other peoples’ lives. Are we not also too quick to judge people?

Therefore, it is important to see that Jesus does not condone sin. Sin is condemned and therefore Jesus tells the woman to go and not sin further, but she is not rejected or insulted as a person.

It is difficult for us to separate sin and the sinner. We tend to belittle or humiliate the person when we feel he / she is not acting correctly. We put sin aside and make the person bad.

Why do we do that? Our pride tells us that we are not so bad. We reason that we would never do such a thing. Like someone lying to you and then saying, “How could you do that to me, I'll never be able to forgive you.” As if you've never lied.

We push the splinter deeper and deeper, because by doing so we want to emphasise our own pride. An example of this is well-known comedian Trevor Noah who made a mockery of Jesus a while ago. It was astounding to see how Christians insulted and degraded him as a person.

So, what do we learn from Jesus’ actions here about dealing with other people’s sin?

We will only be able to look at people differently when we see the grace and love with which Jesus looks at us. He says, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” (vs. 7).

Can you imagine how they must have felt? They bring the woman before Jesus so that the focus is on her sin and then Jesus suddenly turns the focus away from her sin and places the focus completely on their own sin.

They knew that Jesus knew everything. He knows even their deepest desires (also see John 7:19). Now He says that the one who has a clear conscience must throw the first stone at her.

No one dared to throw a stone because what if Jesus reveals their secret sin? Therefore, they rather turn and walk away.

We must not make the mistake of thinking that we are better than others. Our sin makes us all equal before God. All of us are equally dependent on His grace. Yet He forgives us and He died for our sins so that we can be saved.

It must also be our focus in dealing with the sins of others. We should focus on helping others see and confess their sin, not to tear them down and expose their sin for all to see.

This is exactly what Jesus is doing for us. He dies for our sins. He makes us new.

The more we begin to understand the depth of Jesus’ love and salvation, the more we will develop the ability to make the distinction between sin and sinner.

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