We are hardwired with a longing to know that we are not alone in this world but are loved and accepted for who we are. Regardless of our age, race, or circumstances, we hunger for the safety and security that come from being fully known. God placed within us a deep desire for unconditional love that can be fully satisfied only by Him. Yet as the song says, so often we look for love in all the wrong places.
Here in John 8, we find this scandalous story of grace—unconditional love awarded in an extremely high-stakes situation. As Jesus taught those who gathered in the temple, the chief priests and Pharisees plotted to trap Him in His tracks.
Their bait was a woman caught in adultery, and they had no remorse making a spectacle at her expense. While the Law of Moses demanded that both the man and woman be stoned to death for such actions, we see only the woman on display.
When Jesus instructed her to go and sin no more, He didn’t expect her to change overnight or carry on in her own strength. His declaration gave way for her freedom from shame and laid the foundation that she was loved by the Rabbi. She wasn’t leftovers for another man. She was worthy, valuable.
Like her, we are loved by the Rabbi!
At times it appears as though we can’t escape shame, and it attempts to dictate who we are and what we’re worth. Our shame has a profound effect on how we see others and God. It’s easier than we think to shame others and threaten their sense of belonging with off-hand comments. When we do, it’s a mirror of our soul. Any way we withhold love and belonging is an indicator of our own struggle with shame.
But with Jesus as our helper and healer, we can break through shame to a place of grace and freedom. We can love others from a healthy place, free from how they feel about us. We can throw off disapproval, rejection, and abandonment as our hearts are held by the Prince of Peace. As we do, our families, friends, co-workers, and acquaintances will gain a glimpse of unconditional love not bound by rejection or shame. And our breakthrough will make room for others to find themselves in their own stories of freedom from shame.
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