John 8:7 (erv)
I was reading the Bible recently, and I happened to skim over John 8; the story of the woman who’s in big trouble and the men judging her bring her to Jesus. They ask about the stoning policy that’s been put in place as punishment for her sins. This is where Jesus famously says the verse above. Of course, no one does, and everyone disappears, leaving the woman alone with Jesus. He tells her that He isn’t judging her, asks her not to sin anymore, and sends her on her way. No big deal, right?
Except it’s a HUGE deal. We’re talking about a woman who was sleeping around, which leads me to believe that she probably wasn’t making the most moral choices in other areas of her life either. So… that’s it? Just stop sinning? That sounds about as easy as calculus. This is the part of the story where I typically get discouraged. It’s great that she didn’t get stoned, but it feels like she was given an impossible task. A slew of questions runs through my mind about this woman, and how she could possibly commit to this “sinning no more.”
But this time, when I read this story, I realized that I was focusing on the wrong character. In this story, and in most stories in the Bible, the character represents us, and God represents Himself. I spend 90% of the time thinking about the “me” character, and 10% of the time thinking about God’s character. Essentially, I play the leading role, and God’s an extra, maybe a supporting actor at best. How backwards is that?
When my focus is on myself (or the “me character”), it’s taken off of Jesus. The Bible isn’t filled with stories of mistakes and screw-ups, it’s full of grace, redemption, and forgiveness. When we see the flaws in ourselves, we’re missing the perfection in Jesus. The Bible isn’t our story, it’s His! When I start to look at God’s role in the story, the passages change from impossible and discouraging to amazing love stories. This story isn’t one of impossibility and rules, it’s one of grace, protection, and love.
When the focus isn’t on you, you can live freely. Isn’t that what we all really want?
When reading the Word, do you find yourself focusing more on the “me” character instead of God?
Ask the Lord to direct your focus to His role in the story today.