Caught in Adultery

27 02 2015

judge[1]      I was reading this morning the incredible Biblical account found in John chapter 8 of a woman caught in adultery who was brought to Jesus for judgment. The religious leaders who caught her wanted to stone her, in accordance with the law of Moses.

But Jesus stooped and wrote with his finger in the dust. Then he challenged them, “Let’s have the man who never had a sinful desire throw the first stone at her.” He stooped and wrote again, and one by one the men walked away.

Jesus asked, “Dear woman, where are your accusers?” Two witnesses were needed to make an accusation valid.

She answered, “I see no one, Lord.”

“Then I certainly don’t condemn you either. Go, and from now on, be free from a life of sin” (John 8:1-11 Passion Translation).

What a beautiful story! But the religious leaders weren’t happy with how this story ended. They came back to talk more with Jesus, and by the end of chapter 8 they were picking up their stones again, this time to kill Jesus!

Religion is always looking to judge someone, and there are some in any religion who feel they serve God by passing death sentences on others. Whether it’s the Jews of Jesus’ day, or the Muslim fundamentalists who still want to execute any woman caught in adultery, or we American Christians who hear of a politician’s or celebrity’s immorality and “crucify” them with our words, we are quick to condemn, quick to punish.

The natural result of such judgmentalism is that we can move from judging the adulterous woman to judging the sinless Christ simply because we need someone to judge, someone to punish. Before you know it we’re judging the pastor of our neighbor church, our peace-loving Muslim co-worker, or the man walking the street who is a different color than we are.

Both Christians and Muslims agree that Jesus is coming back to be the Judge of the Final Day. Let’s take a look at how Jesus judges. At the conclusion of the story above, Jesus makes this comment in verse 12: “I am light to the world and those who embrace me will experience life-giving light, and they will never walk in darkness.”

Those who shine light to expose, punish and kill are not judging like Jesus. True peacemakers shine a light that is life-giving. This light welcomes others out of sin and condemnation into freedom.

We should all shudder to be judged by the self-appointed watchdogs of our own religions. But Jesus’ judgments are not fearful. His perfect love for us drives out our fear. His light drives out our darkness. Everything he does is life-giving.

May we become true peacemakers who do the same.





Web Interview with Jim on Loving God and Others

2 02 2015

bc12e5bb[1]   This week on the always uplifting blog 7 Christians (http://7christians.blogspot.com/), Victoria Buck has posted Part 1 of an interview with me. Part 2 will be posted next Monday. She asks some really insightful questions. If you’re interested in what other American Christians are concerned about regarding Islam, check out this interview!

I was excited to see the interview was picked up by the First Manuscript Daily News:  http://paper.li/DaxMacGregor/1308327425

Victoria is also an author of the futuristic Christian thriller, Wake the Dead, available at Amazon.com, and a Christian who publicly takes a stand for the Great Commandment—to love God with all our hearts and to love our neighbors as ourselves—even if that neighbor is from a different religion that scares us.

My wife arrived home yesterday from a trip to London, and one thing that stood out to her was how many Muslims she saw at the airport, at the grocery store, just about everywhere. She said it felt like going to parts of our home town of Los Angeles where entire neighborhoods are Asian or Latino and a Caucasian or African-American really stands out. Many of the perspectives from this interview address an American audience for whom opportunities to love Muslims may be fewer than our British counterparts today, but looking at population growth and immigration trends, we know this will be an increasing opportunity in America for us and our children.

I hope you see it like that—as an opportunity. I recently heard of yet another Christian leader who wants to move to the mountains of Montana to escape all the troubles coming to America. To me, this is the exact opposite of what Jesus taught and lived.

When the Samaritans built a cultural and religious wall to keep the Jews out, what did Jesus do? John 4:4 says that “he had to go through Samaria.” No Jew ever went through Samaria—from Galilee in the north they would cross the Jordan River, walk south along it and then recross the river to visit Jerusalem rather than take the direct route through Samaria. Why does the Bible say Jesus had to go through Samaria?

I believe it’s because the kind of love emanating from the Messiah’s heart had to go touch everyone, regardless of the human walls built by either side. Jesus never walked down the opposite side of the street to avoid the demonized, the prostitutes, the Roman soldiers, the lepers, or even the hypocritical religious Jewish leaders who were out to kill him. He even told his disciples that he was going to Jerusalem to die. He went to the cross, not away from it.

So the next time you are in a rush and have to go through the part of town that’s different from your culture, or have to go to the drugstore or gas station attended by someone who doesn’t look like you, try to look at it through Jesus’ eyes. Maybe you have to go there because there’s a wall that needs to be broken by Jesus’ love in you.

Check out the interview at: http://bit.ly/165ZSGk . And maybe post a comment thanking Victoria for being a Christian doing her part to make a difference. Enjoy!