Offering Grace

It is heartbreaking that Christians can be seen by the world as being hateful, especially towards women who are either considering abortion or who have had an abortion. Some pro-life Christians focus so much on hating abortion that they overlook the women who are obviously in need of Jesus’ love and compassion. We should do what we can to prevent abortions from happening, but this often happens by loving and encouraging (not judging) the woman considering one.

Time and time again in the Gospels we see instances of Jesus loving those considered outcasts, damaged, or unlovable. One of the most significant and powerful stories of this is in John 8. Jesus was teaching in the temple when the teachers of the law brought in a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They said to Him, “Now, in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do you say?” Instead of reacting, Jesus knelt down and started writing in the dirt with His finger. It doesn’t say how long He did this, but just imagine it! Imagine the confusion of the teachers and the surprise of the humiliated woman. Imagine the awkward pause while Jesus is on the ground and people trying to get a peek at what He’s writing. Then, He stood up, said, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” And He knelt back down again. The text says that after He said this, each person in the group left, one by one, until it was just Jesus and the woman in question. Verses 10-11 give us the resolution to this story. “Straightening up, Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?’ She said, ‘No one, Lord.’ And Jesus said, ‘I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.’”

Jesus did not judge her. He did not make her feel guilty for what she had done. He did not remind her of the Law which condemns adultery. Instead, he literally got down onto her level and showed her grace. May we swallow our pride and do the same to the people in our communities who also need His love and grace.

– Heather Lieberman