Thursday, May 18, 2017

Pharisees, Walking Away

Reading Searching for Sunday by Rachel Held Evans this morning brought new light for me to a story that I'm most of us are familiar with.

Think about the scripture of the woman caught in adultery. The Pharisees bring a woman who has committed a clear violation of the law to Jesus, and they bring the implements to enact the clear scriptural punishment.  It was a test - how could Jesus get around it?

When we look at this story, we are often focused on the woman - we focus on the power of forgiveness. We are drawn to Jesus and his intervention in the execution of the sinner. We give some attention to the idea that "people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones," but we don't often look at the Pharisees - the righteous.

The Pharisees are saying,"Look at this woman - look what she's done!" I think Jesus is saying,"Look at yourselves - it's you I'm focused on. What have you done? Where is your sin?"

Where are you in this story? Are you the woman who was used as a pawn in this story? Are you the Pharisee, testing Jesus? Am I the one who is so certain of my "rightness" that I can only point fingers at others?

We hear this story, and sometimes the take away for us is, "Go and sin no more." We repeat Jesus as if to use it as a confirmation: "See? The Pharisees were right! She was a sinner."

"WE have sins we delight in taking seriously, biblical instructions we interpret hyperliterally, issues we protect over-vigilantly because it helps us with our sorting system. It makes us feel righteous.

I think sometimes we bring someone else's sin to Jesus, expecting a pat on the back  and an "Attagirl! You're right; that's a terrible thing that person is doing." What we get, instead, and sometimes ignore, is what happened to the Pharisees. Jesus writes our own sin in the sand, and we should drop our stones.

Don't miss the Pharisees walking away.

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