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Windows into the Light by Michael Sullivan

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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Monday, March 30

Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he came again to the temple; all the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. The scribes and Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst, they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery.” As they continued to ask him [questions] he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”
—John 8: 1-4, 7B

The good news of Jesus Christ is always about love. No matter what the topic or situation, love lies underneath Jesus’ words. When we consider this woman caught in adultery, love is certainly the answer, but it is not the kind of love that we assume at first glance.  

Often, we do not love ourselves, and because of our own self-judgment, we cast blame upon others. We don’t address the issues in our own lives, because it’s easier to focus upon someone else. So, when Jesus is asked to name the proper punishment for an adulterous woman, he turns the tables by saying, “Look first at yourselves.” Jesus reminds us that despite the sin in our own life, we are loved by God, and therefore, we are called to love others.

This applies to us both individually and in community. Our Church is closest to the message of Christ when declaring love and hope instead of preaching judgment. Rather than seeking a scapegoat, we are called to face our individual sins and the sins or our communities, and in so doing, spread the grace and mercy received from God when we honestly confess our faults.

Thus, Jesus’ lesson of love pertains equally to ourselves and to those whom we are ready to stone in judgment. We are loved despite our sin, and that love calls us to put down our stones and love one another.

Loving God, help me put judgment aside and, trusting in your compassion for me, turn toward your mercy, so that all others may know your saving embrace. Amen.