A few years ago I had a student who would make my Christian friends uncomfortable. He would be the epitome of why many Christians choose Christian schools. If I’m honest, when the child was originally put in my class, I too was uncomfortable. His actions violated my core beliefs. I felt ill-equipped to deal with this moral dilemma.
But Jesus is perfect theology. How did Jesus navigate loving people in their sins?
When the woman caught in adultery was brought before Jesus, He stood between her and the crowd. He protected her. He stood up for her. Did he agree with her choices? No, but he saw her humanity; he saw someone created in the Father’s image. He saw someone worthy of love and dignity despite her mistakes. He saw her, just as he sees me and you.
Jesus’ theology: Kindness and grace leads to repentance. After the crowds had dispersed. After he had forced those judging to look inward at their own shortcomings, He looked at the women and declared, “I do not condemn you. Go, and sin more.” He demonstrated grace, love, protection, which empowered her to go and do what was right.
Jesus is perfect theology.
Inspired by the story of Jesus and the woman caught in adultery, I quickly put aside my judgmental heart and looked beyond the child’s dysfunction. I saw his humanity. I saw his pain. I saw his Christ-likeness. I treated him with love and dignity. I stood between him and crowds wanting to judge and condemn.
Are we demonstrating Jesus’ theology when it comes to sinners? Or are we demonstrating the crowds’ theology? Are we presenting the world with a loving God or a smite-happy God? Are we communicating the truth that Jesus did not come to condemn the world but to love the world into repentance?
I do not know what happened to that young man. I pray for him often. Nor do we know what happened to that woman caught in adultery. Did she change her ways? Did she slip again?
I do know that young man saw Jesus in me. He saw a Christianity of love and acceptance. He began listening to Christian music by the end of our time together. He thanked me for treating him with respect at the end of the semester. I planted a seed. I’m trusting the Holy Spirit to send someone to water.
Family, Jesus is perfect theology. Let’s treat unbelievers as Jesus did. He protected the adulteress, He ate with tax-collectors, He worshipped with a prostitute, He healed a Gentile, He empowered a divorcée. It’s God’s kindness that leads us to repentance, not his judgment. Jesus is perfect theology.
“Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” John 8:10-11 NLT
“Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?” Romans 2:4 NLT