Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – December 20, 2018
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 (NIV)
I’ve recently had the joy of observing my young son come to love Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. While he was a beloved part of my own childhood, as an adult I’ve come to all the more deeply love and respect Fred Rogers. As I reflect on it, I think my greatest appreciation comes from his ability to dignify and value every single person he encountered. This was a frequent sentiment shared by those who knew him best. He was filled with love for others and always chose to see them as inherently worthy and lovable.
As a deeply committed Christian man, I believe this virtue in Fred’s life was a gift of the Spirit and evidence of a life lived in the likeness of Jesus Christ. Throughout the Gospels, we encounter Jesus drawing near to people who struggled to see their own worth or dignity. This was only amplified by self-righteous leaders who went out of their way to exploit the sins of others and remove all hope of future healing or reconciliation.
Take for example the adulterous woman in John 8. The religious leaders expose this woman’s sins and seek to make a public example of her, seeing if Jesus will approve of her stoning, as their laws required. However, Jesus knew that her death would remove all hope of repentance and grace, so instead he turns the question back on them, saying “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7).
Though some sins are more obvious than others, Jesus wants everyone to be aware of their own need for grace and mercy. No one is without need of grace, yet no one is beyond the hope of redemption. Jesus’ challenge to us is to be humble people who know the love we have received and therefore are quick to extend that love to others, even when their faults and sins are ever before us.
As the documentary Godspeed reminds us, “it takes time to see another’s virtues,” with their faults always more easily seen. Speaking dignity over another person requires a patient love to journey with them through their faults in order to slowly draw out their virtues. There is not a single person who lacks the potential for holiness and goodness. Will you show them grace and be a means by which God draws them near and reminds them that they are beloved by him?
Father, give me the gift of patient love that I might speak dignity and worth over every person I know and encounter. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Who in your life needs to be reminded by you that they are known and loved by God?
No one is without need of grace, yet no one is beyond the hope of redemption. #wisdom hunters #dignity
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