Lenten Devotional // Day 30

Tuesday, April 5
I AM the light of the world by Deborah Johnson

John 8:1-12
Early in the morning he returned to the temple. All the people gathered around him, and he sat down and taught them. The legal experts and Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery. Placing her in the center of the group, they said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of committing adultery. In the Law, Moses commanded us to stone women like this. What do you say?” They said this to test him, because they wanted a reason to bring an accusation against him. Jesus bent down and wrote on the ground with his finger.
They continued to question him, so he stood up and replied, “Whoever hasn’t sinned should throw the first stone.” Bending down again, he wrote on the ground. Those who heard him went away, one by one, beginning with the elders. Finally, only Jesus and the woman were left in the middle of the crowd.
Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Is there no one to condemn you?”
She said, “No one, sir.”
Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on, don’t sin anymore.”
Jesus spoke to the people again, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me won’t walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”

I believe that the legal experts and the Pharisees brought the woman to Jesus as a test to see what he would do. They attempted to challenge Jesus on the matter of sin. Would he condemn or condone? After he confidently wrote in the sand he said, "Whoever hasn't sinned should throw the first stone." Everyone left.

There are times when it's easy for us to judge one another. To ridicule, be biased, and pass judgment. We often gather into groups to exclude others that don't look like us or have different beliefs. As a Black female professional, it's a constant balancing act of trying to find acceptance.

I worked in the insurance industry for 37 years before recently retiring. Although the corporate world is shifting more towards diversity and inclusion, 37 years ago insurance agents were mostly white men. I can relate to the adulterer in her isolation.

One of my coworkers, John, showed an interest in me and took me under his wings. It was because of his mercy and grace that I became successful. It took one person to stand up for me to make the others come around and accept me. I'll forever be grateful to John.

I could only imagine that the woman in this story must have felt as I did, isolated and lacking a sense of belonging. It took Jesus to stand up for her as John was able to stand up for me.
There are times in our lives when we can help a friend in need, stand up for what's right, or be the first one to offer mercy and grace. The question is, will we do it? I've adapted my mother's motto, "If I can help someone along the way, then my living will not be in vain."

Question for Contemplation
Reflect on a time you stood up for a friend or a stranger. What did it cost you? In what way did it save the person who needed your support? Are you inclined to lean in or look away when another is being ridiculed or harassed? What can you do now to prepare yourself to speak up in uncomfortable situations?

Father, thank you for giving me the light of life through your son, Jesus. I pray that I have the courage and compassion to stand up for what's right and just. I strive to live in a way that people see you in me and want to become followers of Jesus Christ. Help me to live in your ways and inspire those around me.

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