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the balance of grace and truth

It might be easy for us to see how Jesus showed compassion to two blind guys. That makes sense. They were blind. Likewise, most of us would have feelings of compassion towards someone with a broken arm or who was just diagnosed with cancer.

But how do you feel towards those who mess up? Do you feel compassion towards those who willingly rebel or make poor choices?

1 Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. – John 8:1-6

The religious leaders are partially correct – as they usually are. The Old Testament Law actually recognized it takes two to tango and BOTH guilty parties are to be put to death. They weren’t concerned about moral purity; they were looking for a way to trap Jesus.

7 When they kept on questioning him [they sound like teenagers], 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.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9 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. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” – John 8:7-11

What a wonderful balance of truth and grace. I don’t condemn you. That’s grace. But don’t do this again. That’s truth. The truth is this kind of behavior is bad for you.

Contrary to some opinions, showing compassion doesn’t mean we ignore bad behavior. Instead, it means we are willing to recognize the pain caused by that bad behavior and we willingly enter into it.

Let me add a side note: How Jesus felt for that lady is how he feels for you. Whatever struggle you’re currently facing, Jesus feels compassion for you. He’s not just aware of your need – he is concerned about it and willing to do something.

And if you’re a Christ-follower, he also expects us to be aware, to be concerned, and to be willing to do something for those around us.