Out of the Darkness, Into the Light

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“Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?… Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared (John 8:11). The story of the woman caught in adultery does not appear in the earliest manuscripts of the gospel of John.

Interestingly, when the story was added, it was placed in the middle of chapters full of condemnation. Jesus was condemned as a demon-possessed deceiver (John 7:12, 20). His life was threatened and his origins ridiculed (John 7:30, 41, 52).

Religious leaders questioned the validity of his testimony (John 8:13), his parentage (v. 19), and even his ethnicity (“You are a Samaritan,” v. 48). When in the midst of all this conflict the Pharisees brought a sinful woman to him, Jesus knew it was to trap him (v. 6). Yet he offered no condemnation to the woman. Nor did he openly condemn her accusers.

Mission and condemnation often seem to go together. Certainly, Jesus’ mission left him open to frequent reproach. In intercultural interactions, the possibility that a misunderstanding or cultural mistake will bring condemnation is always present.

Sometimes we recognize that the condemnation we face is justified. Sometimes it isn’t, and sometimes the condemnation we feel is the result of our own negative thinking.  

Some of you may be dealing with condemnation — warranted, unwarranted or self-inflicted. Probably none of you deserve condemnation as much as the adulterous woman did. Yet whether you have made a terrible mistake or a minor one, whether you are publicly condemned or just wrestling with a punitive conscience, Jesus is ready to remove your condemnation.

Sometimes we are the ones doing the condemning. That also seems to be a common failing in intercultural relationships. How easy it is to unthinkingly judge other people and cultures. When Jesus was condemned by the Pharisees, he said, “You people judge by outward appearances; I do not judge anyone” (John 8:15).

Later in chapter eight, Jesus makes it clear that the attitudes displayed by the Pharisees come from the Devil, the father of lies (v. 44). The fact is that no one, no person or nation or culture, is without sin and, therefore, justified in casting the first stone (v. 7).

Later in chapter eight, Jesus makes it clear that the attitudes displayed by the Pharisees come from the Devil, the father of lies (v. 44). The fact is that no one, no person or nation or culture, is without sin and, therefore, justified in casting the first stone (v. 7).

By Cheryl Doss

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2 thoughts on “Out of the Darkness, Into the Light”

  1. QUITE INTERESTING. it answers several feelings of condemnation that we may feel, at least I find a solution from the brief sharing

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