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Sunday, May 20, 2007

Neither Do I

(John 8:3-10) 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?" They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 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,

"What is wrong with you?!"

What? He didn't say that? Oh, that's right. It was me. To my five-year-old. Who already knew his error. Who didn't need his mama to tower over him and ask him a question to which he knew no answer.

Poor Micah. His actions were almost comical this morning.

First, while holding his water bottle and an armful of magnets for his baby sister, he leaned over and poured the entire contents of the bottle on to the floor before he noticed. We cleaned it up, cheerfully, together.

Next, he did a balancing act on the salad spinner that baby sister had carried into the living room, and broke it. Then we had a conversation about distinguishing between what is and what is not appropriate to perform his circus act upon. (I also had a conversation with baby sister about possible sabatoge, since this was the second time she had been involved.)

Finally, he hopped up on the dining room table to listen to a story on cd, and knocked over a full glass of water. It was no longer comical.

Did Mama explain gently, while helping him to mop up the water, that sitting on the table is not acceptable? Did she hug his shoulders and use the moment as an opportunity to encourage?

No. I asked him, "What is wrong with you?"

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 8:10-11)

I could almost see Jesus, out of the corner of my eye, kneeling on the ground and writing with his finger. I thought about how I would positively fall to pieces if He asked me the same question. Did I really expect an answer? I didn't, yet Micah answered, "I don't know." Head low, eyes filled.

No one here to condemn him but you, Beloved.

I saw his hurt and confused face, and I dropped my stone. It was time for a hug, and a conversation about the proper use of chairs, which are really more comfortable than the table anyway.

Now He speaks to me as I sit here in a quiet house, and Micah sleeps in his bed. I replay the scene over and over, my heart heavy, my spirit low - I fail so often. Too late! my soul hisses. It's too late! You did it again!

No. It can't be too late.

Neither do I condemn you, Beloved. Leave the sin here, with me. Just remember this: Feed. Love. Lead.


You can visit my personal blog at A Path Made Straight.

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Blogger Christine said...

Wow, that is so powerful. This post comes on a day when I asked the same question of Maddy, my rule-breaker, who disobeys so often I feel like a broken record explaining, complaining, disciplining, and raising my voice a bit too often. Thanks for this post, Elise. Wonderful wisdom from one who has been there in the trenches with me!

May 19, 2007 at 9:59 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

I've had similar situations over....and over again! Thank you, Elise.

May 19, 2007 at 11:40 PM  
Blogger henryteachers said...

I needed this! Too often I find myself loosing patience with my children too and condemning them. I love this story of the Savior and what a great application it is to our own lives! You've given me hope to not give up when I make mistakes as a mother and try again tomorrow! :) Mindy

May 20, 2007 at 12:06 AM  
Blogger Denise said...

You are only human, God understands, and He forgives my friend.

May 20, 2007 at 1:39 AM  
Anonymous Lynn Donovan said...


This is watching scripture come to life in 2007. Wow. Neat.

May 20, 2007 at 10:04 AM  
Blogger Darlene said...

I love your writing. You always leave me with something I can and should apply to my life. And while I learn it, I'm amazed at how well you've said it.

May 20, 2007 at 6:07 PM  
Blogger The Preacher's Wife said...

I can not begin to count the times I have blown it with my own sweet ones...I often feel like an Egyptian taskmaster asking them to continue making bricks without my providing what they need to do the job...

Such a wonderful reminder of the patience we should exhibit with our babies...Ouch!

May 20, 2007 at 6:23 PM  
Blogger eph2810 said...

You are right, Elise. It is never too late to drop the stone.

Thank you for sharing this. We too often condemn others regarding their actions...

BTW - do you ever wonder what Jesus wrote in the sand? I do.

Blessings on your day and always.

May 21, 2007 at 7:16 AM  
Blogger Beka said...

This was so powerful, Elise. Too often I have a critical spirit toward others and find myself casting stones when I am the LAST person who should be doing so!
Thank you so very much for these convicting and yet encouraging thoughts.
Blessings on your day, friend!

May 21, 2007 at 7:50 AM  
Blogger Maxine said...

Been there-done that! It was just about a month ago that I had a horrible guilt time after picking up a HUGE stone. I replayed it over and again like you did, burdened down with conscience, like you. So your friends from Titus 2 know by experience. Just pick up (not the stone) and keep going, young lady. As usual, this was beautifully written and such a helpful reminder. Thanks, Elise.

May 21, 2007 at 7:34 PM  
Blogger Beverly said...

I needed this, friend. God used you to touch my heart today.

May 30, 2007 at 8:43 AM  

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It is good to hear from you... thank you so very much for leaving a note on the table. That makes us smile!

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