Unconditional Love Follows This Rule…

Ladyinsunlight

A couple of weeks ago, I read a fantastic article by Scott Sauls.

Here’s a quote from the article that has lodged itself into my brain:

“I have never met a person who fell in love with Jesus because a Christian scolded them about their ethics.”

You really should take a couple of minutes and read the entire article.  Really you should.  I’ll wait for you. Lessons From a Drunk Man in a Prayer Meeting

This morning I read the famous account again in John 8 where a group of Pharisees brought a lady caught in adultery to Jesus. They brought her to be punished and Jesus simply asks the angry, finger-pointing mob to search their hearts…”If any of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”  We know what happens next. Slowly, one by one, they all drop their stones and walk away.  

Then Jesus turns to the lady and says some of the most beautiful words in all of Scripture.

“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.”

I love the point Scott Sauls makes in his article…(you read it, right? 🙂 )

“Jesus, left alone with the woman, simply says to her two things: I do not condemn you. Now leave your life of sin. The order is everything. Reverse the order of these two sentences and we lose Christianity. Reverse the order and we lose Jesus.

I love this crucial observation! You want to know one of the reasons Jesus lovers tend to get all excited about Jesus…this is it!

A song verse came to mind as I was thinking about the declaration Jesus makes to this lady and to us…

“That’s why we praise Him, that’s why we sing, that’s why we offer Him our everything.”

For anyone reading this who is holding onto the lie that they have to “get their act together” before coming to Jesus, now’s the time to reread John 8: 1-8. I agree with Sauls, the sequence is everything. Change the order and we lose Jesus.

Change the order and you get conditional love.
Change the order and you have to earn your way into the arms of Jesus.
Change the order and you get a checklist of rules to endlessly try to live up to.

Change the order and I would want nothing to do with it.

You see, for a big part of my life, I struggled with being a people pleaser. I struggled with trying to earn the approval of others.  It’s a futile and exhausting goal. And, if I’m not careful…I can make the mistake of falling back into this trap of trying to earn the love and acceptance of others.  But the truth is, ultimately, your opinion and acceptance of me doesn’t matter.

Today, I know that Jesus is standing among the crowd of people too.  He’s standing there and reminding me over and over of the order of His unconditional love for meChild, I love you.  I accept you just as you are.  Now follow ME.

“That’s why we praise Him, that’s why we sing, that’s why we offer Him our everything.”

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