- Listen to Severe Mercy - Cindy Sproles
“The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. 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?" John 8:3-5
Could it be that the greatest mercy bestowed on the adulteress that day was not the fact that she walked away without being stoned but that she was caught? Would she have ever found herself before Christ with a repentant heart otherwise? What severe mercy to be found out, to be known as a sinner and called forth into the light. It is so easy to welcome the forgiveness and the redemption that Jesus offers. But when was the last time we fell to our knees and thanked God that He did not allow our sin to remain hidden?
We church goers are often like the Pharisees. We want justice. We want the law. But when they asked Jesus what He thought should be done, the answer proved to be yet another layer of mercy:
“If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her..... 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."
How often do we show such mercy to those in our churches and those in our lives when they stand before us so exposed? Do we abandon them like the Pharisees did, leaving our wounded to suffer alone? Or do we offer words of restoration like Christ:
“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."
Oh that we would have hearts which embrace not only the forgiveness but the brokenness that comes with sin, that we could thank Him for exposing the darkness in us. And that we would extend such mercy to those caught in their own depravity.
Ariel Allison is a published author who lives in a small Texas town with her husband and three young sons. She is the co-author of Daddy Do You Love Me: a Daughter’s Journey of Faith and Restoration (New Leaf Press, 2006). Justin Case, the first of three children’s books will released by Harvest House Publishers in June 2009. She ponders on life as a mother of all boys at www.themoabclub.blogspot.com and on her thoughts as a redeemed dreamer at www.arielallison.blogspot.com. She and her husband are expecting their fourth son in December.