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  • Unshackled

    1 posts, 1 voices, 492 views, started Jul 31, 2011

    Posted on Sunday, July 31, 2011 by Denise Richardson

    • Diamond

      John 8:1-11  

      Clad in bright yellow shirts, the women were hard to miss. Shackled and standing in line, some of the suspected prostitutes covered their faces with their hands. People who witnessed this spectacle of shame raged online, claiming that many women resort to prostitution to feed their families. The nation's government responded by creating a new law to ban the practice of public disgrace for sex workers.

      Jesus encountered a shame spectacle when the Pharisees dragged an adulterous woman to the center of a crowd and then suggested stoning her. Jesus responded, "Let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone" (v.7). Forced into uncomfortable self-examination, the Pharisees slithered away . . . one by one.

      Jesus then asked the adulteress, "Where are your accusers?" (v.10). This question showed that Jesus was not one of them. When we struggle with shame, Jesus doesn't accuse us either. Rather, He defends us.

      As Christians, even when we sin, "we have an Advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ" (1 John 2:1). As the woman's Advocate, Jesus posed another question, "Didn't even one of [your accusers] condemn you?" (John 8:10). When she said no, He continued, "Neither do I." Jesus' grace released the adulteress from her sin and, consequently, her shame. His grace does the same thing for us. "There is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1).

      After His public pardon, Jesus said to her: "Go and sin no more" (John 8:11). He was telling her how to stay free of shame. Because ongoing sin produces ongoing shame, we too have to give up the sinful stuff that breeds disgrace.

      When we realize that Jesus is our gracious Advocate and abandon our sin, shame can't shackle our hearts.

      — Jennifer Benson Schuldt

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