Continuing from a recent post “The Passion of the Christ 2: The Revenge of Jesus?”, I want to pull out an excerpt from Peppermint-Filled Pinatas to continue this very important conversation about the Good News of Jesus. I am not advocating for changing the message, but changing how we share this message.
Jesus seemed to approach each person differently based on where he or she was in their spiritual journey. Take the woman caught in the act of adultery:
“Jesus reveals a very different approach than the judgmental one we’ve often embraced. Jesus actually befriended people on the fringe of society. He embraced the people the religious leaders loved to hate. Early in the morning, the religious leaders thought they found a way to trap Jesus. Creeping around while peering into the bedrooms of some of the more notorious women in town, they found their bait. Dragging the adulterous woman in front of Jesus, they demanded that their moral legislation be followed. They knew Jesus would not condone her behavior; therefore, he would have to participate in her stoning, an act which would prove his teachings of loving others were wrong. John writes:
“They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?’ They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him…. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, ‘If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.’ Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’
‘No one, sir,’ she said.
‘Then neither do I condemn you,’ Jesus declared. ‘Go now and leave your life of sin’” (John 8:1-11).
Rather than condemning her, he showed compassion and love while calling her to live a transformed life. Too often, we relate to others in the opposite order. Through our actions, we communicate “we will love you when you change” rather than Jesus’ approach which was “I will love you whether or not you change, and if you want to change, I will show you how.”