Don't you love how God uses the least likely to perform great works or shake up the status quo? You know the people that society would look at and whisper to their neighbor, "I would not choose her or him. Do you know what they did last month?" You know the person that's looked over when it's time to pick teams for a game? You overlook the person because surely they don't have the brains, physical fitness, or the desire to win like you do.
Well, maybe you cannot relate to those two examples, but what about this one? What about the person you think is not good enough to marry your daughter or son because their parents divorced and your parents have been married for 50 years? You silently judge, gladly make an excuse or not allow them to be a part of your family.
I have to admit; I'm always for the underdog; the people that are least likely to win. I get excited when I read stories in the Bible where God does the opposite of what others think with people He chooses to be a fit for the assignment.
For example, I was reading in John 8:1-11 (MSG) where it says, "Jesus went across to Mount Olives, but he was soon back in the Temple again. Swarms of people came to him. He sat down and taught them. The religion scholars and Pharisees led in a woman who had been caught in an act of adultery. They stood her in plain sight of everyone and said, “Teacher, this woman was caught red-handed in the act of adultery. Moses, in the Law, gives orders to stone such persons. What do you say?” They were trying to trap him into saying something incriminating so they could bring charges against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger in the dirt. They kept at him, badgering him. He straightened up and said, "The sinless one among you, go first: Throw the stone." Bending down again, he wrote some more in the dirt. Hearing that, they walked away, one after another, beginning with the oldest. The woman was left alone. Jesus stood up and spoke to her. "Woman, where are they? Does no one condemn you? "No one, Master." "Neither do I," said Jesus. "Go on your way. From now on, don't sin."
Let's fast forward this to 2016. Okay, can you imagine sitting at your desk in the office or sitting in the congregation at church and someone comes to you, takes you to your boss or pastor then says, "Yep, here she is! Go ahead, tell her how horrible she has been." You can hear everyone screaming different things from their desk or in the congregation saying "Fire her today!" Or, "Kick her out of the church!" Let's face it; some cruel wounded people in the world would like nothing better than to see someone else hurt. Because of their issues, they would like nothing more than to take the focus off them and put it on someone else. It's not everyone, but there are people like that in the world.
Ok, back to the story! Where were we? Oh yes, can you imagine everyone in the office or members of the church getting upset because the boss or Pastor wasn't doing what they wanted him or her to do to you? They are shouting everything they can think of or that they think should be said. They are yelling at your boss or Pastor. Then they look down at him, or her scribbling notes as if to ignore all the noise. He or she didn't say a word but started writing again. Then your boss or Pastor looks at your co-workers or the members of your church and says, "If you haven't sinned then go ahead and do what you're demanding me to do."
Can you imagine how silent it would become in the room? The screaming went from shouting similar to the Super Bowl to complete silence. Then the mood changes. Several of your co-workers glide silently back into their chairs or members of your church gracefully sit down or walk out of the church in disbelief. I'm sure if you or I were in a similar situation, we would go from feeling overwhelmingly shameful and fearful to being curious about what just happened. We would desperately want to hear more from our boss or pastor because they just did the opposite of what everyone else wanted them to do. I'm going to bet we would decide to do life differently moving forward because of that act of forgiveness and judgment was not used to belittle us.
I don't know about you, but I've been that woman who was in need of forgiveness and desperately needed another chance. I've been that woman who has made some decisions that called for a "do over." It wasn't adultery, but I've had my share of poor decision making that I'm grateful only God, and I know. I've been the woman who carried shame and guilt with me as a result of someone else's decision as well. Sometimes our judgment and need to call out others impacts more than we realize. You see, I know what it's like to be in a place ready for the stones to be thrown at me only to find God saying, "Erika, go and sin no more."
I'm not sure if you can relate to the woman, the crowd or both, but I do know that God doesn't need our help with determining the consequences for someone else's mistakes. We have enough to worry about if we look at our lives. I'm not saying people should do things and get away with it. I'm saying let God handle that part, and we take on the role of loving people right where they are in life.
My prayer this week is that we would take every stone we have or about to pick up and replace it with hearts! I'm talking big, bedazzled hearts! You know the ones that shine so bright that you can see them from miles away. I pray our actions would make a difference in the lives of all those we come in contact with this week. They should walk away saying, "I' was bedazzled by love!"