How does God "see" those who have ended the lives of their children through abortion? Is He angry with them? Does He judge them harshly? Read on to get a glimpse into the heart of our Father who cherishes His children, regardless of their bad choices, loving and forgiving them, wanting desperately to restore them - no matter what they've done.
"Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?" John 8: 4,5
The angry crowd marched through the city streets dragging with them a woman barely clad and barefoot, hair disheveled and unkempt, eyes dark and empty of emotion. She was guilty. They had caught her in the act. As they approached the Teacher in the center court, they threw her to the ground at His feet where she stayed, head bowed in shame and humiliation.
The law was very clear back then. Those caught in adultery were to be stoned to death, a harsh and brutal warning for everyone to witness. The scribes and Pharisees knew Jesus cared for the people, but they also knew He was without recourse in this situation, and they hoped to entrap Him.
They may have known Jesus was a soft touch where the people were concerned, but there was much these religious leaders didn't know about Him. The Scripture says Jesus stooped down and began to write with His finger in the dirt. Did He list their own sins, perhaps the ones they were committing right at that moment? The sin of hatred and malice, trickery and deceit, or for some, even lust for blood?
But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, "He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." (v. 7)
One by one stones began to drop to the ground as each man realized his own guilt, slipping silently away under a cloud of humiliation and shame until no one was left but Jesus and the woman. With each thud, the weight of the condemnation must've lifted from her shoulders until there were no more thuds. No more angry mob.
Then Jesus looked her in the eye, probably with a twinkle in His own, as He asked her a question. Did He ask her why she did it? Did He ask her how she could debase herself in such a way? No, He simply asked, "Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?" (v. 10)
She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said, "I do not condemn you, either. Go, from now on sin no more." (v. 11)
This account in Scripture gives us a picture of God's heart toward those caught in sin - even the "worst" kind of sin. Jesus came to show us God's heart toward us, even in the face of the worst we have to offer. None of it has surprised Him. He has always known even before time began what man was capable of. And yet, He came anyway. To show us His heart; to lay down His life for us; and to give us new life - eternal life free from sin in Him.
When Jesus had every right according to Mosaic Law and according to His own righteousness to convict this woman, to order her execution, He chose instead to shame those who would condemn her. He came to the defense of the one whose guilt was glaring. She didn't even try to defend herself. She was without excuse. Yet Jesus stepped in, turning the shame upon her accusers, and then He did the unthinkable... He pardoned her... and then, He set her free.
You see, it's not that Jesus didn't see her sin that day, He just saw past it to the wounded heart beneath it. He didn't ignore her sin, but He defended her and saved her life before He ever made mention of it.
If we are to be Jesus' hands and feet and heart in this dark and hurting world, if we are to follow His example, then I suggest, my friends, that ours is not to gather stones, but to see past the sin and show grace and mercy just as He did. To those caught in any sin, and even to those who chose the sin of abortion.
"But You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, Slow to anger and abundant in loving kindness and truth." Psalm 86:15
"Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful." Luke 6:36
© Mary Comm, 2005 [6/12/05]
All Scriptures NASB unless otherwise noted.