Addressing Sin with Love
Read John 8:7-11
When they kept on questioning Him, He straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
How did Jesus show love to a sinner in this passage? How did Jesus address her sin in this passage?
In college, I was walking on campus and came across a group who professed to be Christians protesting homosexuality. Their signs read horrible messages. They seemed to forget Jesus’ words, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” It was not apparent that these individuals were disciples of Christ. They were opposed to sin and yet, they were not acting in love.
The opposite was also very common on campus. I’d see Christians acting in love so much that they forfeited the truth of Scripture in order to not offend or hurt someone. They spoke of God’s love for everyone, no matter what, without a call for repentance. Sin went unaddressed completely. It was like everything is ok because God loves you and told us not to judge you.
However, we know from the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 4:15 that we are called “to speak the truth in love”. We need to defend the truth of the Gospel and we need to act with love and respect to fellow image bearers.
Jesus is the perfect example. Consider the woman caught in adultery in John 8. In verse 7, He puts the crowd in its place by reminding them of their own sin. Who were they to stone her? And yet, in verse 11, he says, “Neither do I condemn you...Go now and leave your life of sin.” Jesus had compassion on this woman. Yet, He called her actions what they were-sin. And He told her to leave that life. He called her to repentance.
If we want to live out our commission to go and make disciples, we need to follow the example of Jesus to learn how to speak the truth in love. Truth says “You are sinful and need to repent”. Love says “So am I and so do I. Did you know that you can be forgiven and that God can change you?”
Jesus, thank you for showing me how to speak the truth in love. Help me to put both Your truth and Your love into action when I share the Gospel. Amen.
~ Pastor Nat Crawford