Read John 8:1-11
Core Virtues…Being Godly
GENTLENESS – I am thoughtful, considerate and calm in dealing with others.
Probably you have witnessed someone in your life “go ballistic” before. By “ballistic” I mean the opposite of gentle. Maybe you can even point to times where your own response wasn’t quite at the ballistic end of the spectrum but it sure wasn’t at the gentle end either. Most of us can.
Well, pay attention to Jesus in today’s reading. His response was certainly a gentle one. Better said, His responses were certainly gentle ones (plural). That’s right, there is not just one person on trial in this story. Jesus was not only responding to the woman and her sin. She was just a means to a greater end for the scribes and Pharisees. In those early morning hours, her sin gave them opportunity to place Jesus on trial. Verse 6 describes it like this:
“They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.”
In reality, then, Jesus had to respond to two different groups/people. There were the scribes and Pharisees known for their strict, legalistic attention to rules and their convenient loophole lives that sometimes excused them from observing them. It would have been easy to blow these people out of the water in anger…especially when they were trying to catch Jesus.
Instead, He responded gently. He wrote a few things in the sand…perhaps statements from the Law of which He knew them to be guilty. And then, He reminded them of their own sin. No evidence here of high volume or of low blows. He just thoughtfully, considerately, calmly, gently, and yet clearly communicated…with those who opposed Him.
Of course, Jesus also responded to the woman. She was as guilty as the day was long. Caught in the very act, she didn’t even attempt to deny the accusations. Imagine the irony. She, an adulterous woman, was standing in the very presence of the holy, righteous Son of God! If anybody could chew her up one side and down the other, it was Jesus.
But His gentle response was two-fold. First compassionately forgiving: “…neither do I condemn you..” Then lovingly directing her: “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
The Spirit of God makes those same kinds of gentle responses possible for you and me.