Scripture: Matthew 7:1-5; John 8:1-11
We continue this week with our sermon series, The Ripple Effect. Last week, we discussed how you can break the negative cycle of behaviors that you inherit from your surroundings. This Sunday, we’re going to talk about the role society plays in our ability to successfully break the mold of their upbringing. Our scripture reading from John will help explore this idea.
A woman is caught in the act of adultery and a group of men bring her to Jesus because they want to know his opinion about whether or not they should stone her to death. Execution is the prescribed punishment for adulterers in the Old Testament because it was believed that such an action forever changed the essence of who you are as a person. Socially, you can never recover from the act of adultery, so it becomes this box from which you can never escape.
They looked at her and said, “This is the person who you will always be. You will always be an adulteress. You will never be able to escape this mistake. So let’s just end it all now.” But this is not Jesus’ approach. Rather than giving a direct yes or no answer to their question of whether she should be stoned, Jesus says, “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” And one by one, the men walked away.
After the men leave, Jesus asks the woman who has condemned her. She said, “No one, sir.” Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.” Jesus is saying that this one act does not have to define who you are. Instead of closing the box, Jesus opens the box and tells us that we can always be different. We can always change.
This Sunday, I will be telling you a story about a young woman who worked incredibly hard to change her life, only to have society throw up many road blocks along the way. This Sunday, we will be discussing how we can remove those roadblocks to help people who are trying to change and become as successful as possible. It’s going to be a snowy weekend. Stay safe and I hope to see you on Sunday!