A story is recorded in John 8:1-11 of how some Jewish leaders found a woman committing the evil act of adultery, which, according to Jewish law, was punishable by death through stoning.
They could have executed the death penalty themselves but instead, they brought her to Jesus to do that.
However, it is quite obvious that they did that in order to trap Jesus, that if He had made the wrong judgment, they would have had something to accuse Him of doing and therefore, warrant punishment and rejection.
To their horror, their calculated action backfired on them.
Jesus turned the table on them and instead of supporting them, He declared them all as guilty.
Jesus wrote on the ground what evil deed each one of them had cherished, and upon reading them they felt too wicked to carry out the death penalty against the adulterous woman.
Consequently, they all left without a stone being cast at the woman. When they all left, Jesus looked at the woman and said, “Woman where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
The woman replied, “No one, sir.” Then Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you … go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8:10, 11)
There are important lessons for us to learn from the story:
1) We must not focus on other peoples’ sinfulness so that we forget ours. The Pharisees desired the ultimate penalty, which was the death penalty.
We may become like them if we take pleasure in the suffering of the wrongdoer. Jesus did not take their attitude which is an example that we would do well to follow.
2) Jesus did not publicly scold the accusers but rather quietly dealt with each one’s case by telling them, in writing, that He was aware of what wrongs they had been cherishing.
This is also another perfect example we should follow, which is to talk over a wrong deed with the wrongdoer instead of telling others about it.
3) By Jesus saying that He neither condemned her, does not necessarily mean He condoned her sinful deed. No doubt she had broken the Law. However, it appears that Jesus would have read the woman’s sorrow for her sinfulness.
In other words, Jesus saw that the woman had expressed repentance, and therefore, gladly announced that He had forgiven her. The lesson here is, we must not be quicker to condemn and slower to forgive.
Rather we must be slower to condemn and quicker to accept and forgive especially when the wrongdoer has expressed sorrow for his wrongs.
Another important point to remember is that forgiveness for sins is something readily available from God for all who display sorrow for sin.
There is no sin that God cannot forgive, except the sin that we do not confess to Him because the Bible says that any sin we confess, He will forgive and cleanse us. (1 John 1:9)
4) When Jesus forgave the woman, she went one level up in her spiritual journey.
She left Jesus a cleansed soul, and one reconciled with her God. Jesus had healed her brokenness.
She had gained a new status at that moment which was, that she was then a child of God in a meaningful way.
The important point here is that we should always try and do all we can, as a society and as individuals, to restore a wrongdoer who has expressed sorrow for his/her wrong deed.
It helps elevate the wrongdoer to another level which is from being guilty to a restored citizen with new heights to climb.
Having been forgiven, therefore, the woman could not return to her sinful ways any more, hence, “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
This is the experience that anyone of us who is broken may have after encountering Jesus. He or she may not only be forgiven, or cleansed of sin but will also be healed from the damages sin may have caused to his/her relationship with God.
Above all, Jesus would grant him/her His power through the Holy Spirit to enable him/her to leave a life of sin.