A group of men confronted Jesus with a woman caught in adultery. A crowd of self-righteous Pharisees dragged her before him and explained that she was in the very act! (However, if she was “in the very act,” they never mentioned the man who was involved. I guess he gets away). And the Law, they say, condemns her, and says she must die because she is guilty.
Wow! That is a rough situation. So, what does Jesus do? He can’t deny the Law. He merely stoops down and begins to, as Mike Warnke used to say, “doodle in the dirt.” No one knows what he wrote. I figured He must have written what the finger of God wrote on the wall of the palace in Babylon when Belshazzar had his feast: “‘M’ne! M’ne! T’kel ufarsin. (God has numbered the days of your rule, and they don’t add up)” (Daniel 5:25).
Whatever he wrote, the guys who were watching him became convicted of their own guilt, and, beginning with the eldest, John says, they began to find excuses to get away. One remembered he had an appointment; one heard his wife calling; so they began to disappear. Finally, only the woman and Jesus were left there together.
Now, what had Jesus done? Well, he had merely applied the Law to the judges as well as to the judged. Jesus brought them under the same Law they were using against the woman. He took the judges and the judged, and put them into the same bag and shook them up. Kind of like a Divine “Shake ‘n Bake.” Each one came out covered with the flour of the same guilt. When he did that, there was no way they could accuse her anymore.
And this is what Paul says Jesus did with the Law. Jesus fulfilled the Law in himself, and by doing so, He rendered both Jew and Gentile unacceptable before God. He demonstrated how the Law was meant to be used. And when they saw His perfect life, the Jews knew they were just as guilty as the Gentiles.
Paul argued this in Romans 2, 3, and 4. The Jew has no advantage over the Gentile merely because they know more truth, they stand on the same ground. Both Jew and Gentile need forgiveness. So, our Lord gave them a common ground of forgiveness. And when he did that, there was no reason for hostility left.
So this is how you start ending hostility: Stop being self-righteous. Remove the self-righteousness, the demand that one person has to change without any admission of a need for change on the part of the other. Recognizing and admitting the ability to be wrong, removes hostility. But as long as one insists that the other is wrong, and there is nothing he needs to change, then, of course, anger and resentment remain.
This happens with parents and children. As long as the parents insist they never make mistakes, never do anything wrong, never need to apologize, never say “I’m sorry” to their children, those children invariably grow up resenting and hating their parents.
Self-righteousness always creates hostility. Until those parents see themselves as being able to be wrong, needing forgiveness themselves, needing to be understood and set free by the forgiveness of their children (as well as granting forgiveness to them), there can never be harmony. This same principle works between friends, co-workers, among church leaders, and other Christians. Hostility comes from self-righteous demands. Remove that demand, and the hostility ends.
Then what? Is that all? Is God content merely with ending hostility? Never! There is a second step: “that he might create in himself, one new man.” Notice the word create. That is what only God can do. Man can’t create. When we refer to someone as being creative, we mean that he can take things which already exist and put them together in a new way, bringing about something different. In other words, he has merely rearranged the material, and we call that creativity. But, in the ultimate sense of the word, only God is creative. Men may be ingenious, but they are not creative. Only God can take a situation which is nothing, and make out of it something. God creates out of nothing. He makes a new man, a new unity which never existed before.
I was reading an article on couples who were on the verge of divorce but discovered the tools they needed to restore their marriages. One woman testified:
“You know, since I stopped trying to judge my husband [and I bet it would apply for a man who is judging his wife], and we have come together acknowledging that both of us need God, both of us need forgiveness. Because of that, we have a whole new relationship I never dreamed was possible. It is better than anything we had before. Something new has begun, a greater unity than ever has developed.”
A man testified:
“Our marriage was dead. Our love was gone. There was no way we could restore it. We figured that we should just simply end the marriage. But I finally realized how judgmental and unsupportive I was. I am ashamed to admit it, but I was truly blind to what I was doing.”
Joyfully, through Christ, this husband was able to witness a new relationship come into being, something that had been lost for many years.
Those were only two examples, but many have laid hold of this and found it indeed to be true that in the new unity, the new man which grows out of the relationship brought to Christ, there is a freedom and a glory and a beauty and a richness which was never there before, and it is better than it ever was.
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I do thank you for your gifts. It is your faithful and continued support that makes these messages possible.