Our verse for today comes from John 8:10, ” When Jesus had stood up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, ‘Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?’ “
In The Shawshank Redemption , Andy Dufresne is serving a life sentence in prison for the murders of his wife and another man. The joke among the prisoners, such that it is, inside Shawshank, and I would assume the same for most other prisons, is that each of them is innocent. No one did anything wrong, and nobody should be locked up behind bars. The sad truth for Andy is that he really is innocent. But as he spends the prime of his life imprisoned, he makes a go of it as best he can. Having been a banker out in the free world, Andy is eventually commissioned by the warden to file the taxes and handle the financial affairs of the guards of Shawshank and other prisons. And ultimately, the unethical warden uses Andy’s expertise to launder money he is making from bribes and the exploiting of prison labor on public jobs. Andy jokes with his friend, Red, in saying that in the free world, he was an honest man, straight as an arrow. He had to come to prison to be a crook. All it took was one unwarranted accusation of an innocent man, and his entire life was changed, as were the lives of everyone he met. In fact, all of history was changed.
But now, it’s not Andy who has rewritten history, but our Lord Jesus. He was accused of claiming to be who He really was, and for that they hung Him on a tree. It’s no casual matter to accuse someone of something. Voices and tempers tend to elevate when one thinks they are being accused. And if things get out of control, people can end up getting hurt, or worse.
And I’m not just referring to their bodies. Emotionally and mentally, the damage can be extensive and long-lasting, all the while going mostly unnoticed by others. But the pain is real, and the harm is destructive. We would do well to choose not to accuse, to assume something far better than the worst about another. Soft answers, second chances, and forgiven grievances show the world that hope is greater than condemnation, and the death of one innocent Man can truly set them free.
As we seek Him today, thank God for not accusing you of all that you are guilty of, and share that grace with others who need it.