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08 October – Praise loudly & Blame softly

John 8:2  Early in the morning Jesus came again to the temple. All the people came to him and he sat down and began to teach them.3  The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery; and making her stand before all of them, 4  they said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. 5  Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6  They said this to test him, so that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7  When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8  And once again he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9  When they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders; and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10  Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11  She said, “No one, sir.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.”

This is a ‘disputed’ passage of Scripture: it was not in the original text, but is instead a later addition. That said – I believe that even if this story was not told alongside the others, it should have been because this is so central to everything that Jesus represented: Here is a woman who is ‘caught out’ and is publically humiliated. Jesus does not condone her actions – but instead he offers her an opportunity for a new beginning:  “Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.”

One of the great challenges in life is to hold each other accountable to Godly moral and ethical standards – while helping those who fall to get back on their feet.  I have discovered that the best way is to remember my own moral failures, and the many, many times I have had to pick myself off the floor and dust myself off ….and begin again. This motivates me to offer the same encouragement to others.

“I praise loudly. I blame softly” :   Catherine the Great

Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave;
Weep o’er the erring one, lift up the fallen,
Tell them of Jesus, the mighty to save.

  • Refrain:
    Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
    Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save.

Frances J. Crosby, 1869

Ordinary 24  

46 Beyond Forgiveness

The Scripture passage for the day is drawn from Reuben Job and Norman Shawchuck, A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants, (Nashville, The Upper Room 1983), 282.
This reflection is from my own devotional exercises for the day

“To comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable” Finley Peter Dunne (1867–1936)