Our verse for today comes from John 8:11, ” She said, ‘No one, Lord.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.’ “
There is a scene in the movie, The Woman in Red , where Richard Gere’s character is trying to unlock the door to his hotel room. Repeatedly he inserts the magnetic card into the slot with no success. As he tries yet again, he mumbles with exasperation, ” I miss keys. ” Gere’s sentiment might be the opposite of what most of us would feel when it comes to the English language. Consider this sample from a letter written during the Civil War, ” After a few billets and interviews, and with full declaration of the love I desired to bestow, I received a measured and loving response and was made most happy in the anticipation of the celebration of the nuptials fixed at some six months hence. ” Few of us would say that we long for a time when much more formal were the modes of communication. In this one sentence, the writer is recounting how he came to express his love for and propose to his fiancé, and how she ultimately agreed to marry him in six months. Today, the words of choice and the grammar used would look and sound quite different from just 150 years ago. But even more recent than that, words from just a decade or so ago, or perhaps a generation or two, are no longer used. Condemnation might be one of those words. Short of hearing it in a church setting, people don’t generally use condemnation to express that particular attitude. But we certainly know condemnation when we hear it, don’t we?
What I want us to be sure of, though, is that we are not uttering it so much that we are unable to hear it in ourselves. It’s too easy to dress it up like something else, something that sounds acceptable, and definitely less judgmental. But condemnation it still is, and judgmental we can still be. We need to recognize sin and its attacks against us. But we also must remember that Satan has been condemned already, and he needs no help from us tearing down someone who might be in the grips of rebellion against God. They need a reason for hope, and freedom from condemnation is that reason.
As we seek Him today, be an agent of hope to counter the condemnation that sin and guilt would have someone surrender to.