8 Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, 2 but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. 3 As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.
4 “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”
6 They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. 7 They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” 8 Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.
9 When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
11 “No, Lord,” she said.
And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”
During my formative years, I was never part of the “in” crowd. I had friends of various stereotypes; the jocks, the musicians, the churchgoers, the honor rollers, but I never fit in with the kids on top. You know the type: the rich kids who are the prettiest, most popular, best dressed, homecoming king and queen. I always said I didn’t care to be in their “click,” but deep down I wanted to be accepted…I wanted to feel like I belonged with the recognized elite group.
When I became a culture-shocked teenager, after moving from Southern California to “Hicksville” North Carolina, I just wanted to blend in with the locals. Unfortunately, I never quite fit in- anywhere. Instead, I was labeled as the stereotypical valley girl; wealthy, arrogant, airheaded…you get the idea. As a result, the girls mercilessly bullied me in my school. I was followed like a prey before slaughter; cussed at, taunted and pushed around. On one occasion, a girl spit gum in my hair. They even went so far as calling my home- threatening to beat me up if I didn’t do exactly as they said. And so, I spent the next 2 years of middle school and 3 years of high school trying to be accepted. Unfortunately, the only ones who wanted me were the boys. Like a moth to a flame, I was drawn to them, and ultimately, death was the result of their attention.
This unhealthy cycle continued into college, until I met a man who asked me a simple, yet profound question: “Why do you continue to disrespect yourself like that? You are worth FAR more than what you believe about yourself.”
2 years later, I married him.
I can relate all too well to the adulterous woman in John, chapter 8. I understand the shame she felt as the religious elite gathered around her. I have been at the center of a crowd who ridiculed me for the sins they thought I engaged in- and for the sins in which I willingly committed. I have stared into the faces of the Pharisees, as they’ve mocked me, taunted me, and rejected me. The stones they’ve hurled have bruised my soul.
But, I’ve also stared into the face of my Savior and listened to Him say “You are my precious, expressive, bold, submissive, passionate daughter- you are loved…. you are forgiven. Go, and sin no more.”
Decades later, I sometimes still feel like that teenager girl- not a part of the “in” crowd in my city, my neighborhood, my church or my homeschool groups. Whether the rejection is actual, or just a ploy of the enemy in an attempt to destroy me, I know, that I know, that I know, that I belong to the only One that matters.
Perhaps you’re that girl- or guy who always feels like you’ll never fit in.
Perhaps you’re a sinner who feels condemned by the choices you’ve made to fill a void in your life.
Perhaps you’ve been badly bruised by Pharisee’s who seem to be “perfect.”
You are not alone. There is someone who knows exactly what it feels like to be an outcast, to be condemned and to be wrongfully accused. He died for you and His name is Jesus Christ. Accept Him as your Savior today, and be a part of His “in” crowd -for all eternity.