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I was caught in the act. Caught in bed with a man who wasn’t my husband. When a group of men burst through the door and dragged me out into the street, I was terrified for my life. A curious crowd had gathered and their curiosity turned to anger when they heard what I had done. It seemed surreal that this was happening to me, as I looked into their accusing faces and heard their death sentence shouted.

The men shoved me in front of Jesus. “Teacher,” they confronted Him, “this woman was caught sleeping with a man who isn't her husband. The Law of Moses teaches that a woman like this should be stoned to death! What do you say?”

Except for my trembling, I was paralyzed by fear. I knew the Law of Moses—I knew I should die. My life was now in the hands of this man. If He said, “Stone her!” it would only be seconds before the angry crowd would rain stones on me. And I would feel the pain of every single rock until death came.

But Jesus didn’t say that. In fact, He didn’t say anything at all. Instead He bent down and began writing with his finger in the dust. Then He stood up and said, “If any of you have never sinned, then go ahead and throw the first stone at her!” Once more, He bent down and began writing. I watched in amazement as people in the crowd began dropping their stones and walking away, one by one.

Can This Be?

Weeping and shaking I wondered, “Can this be? Is my life being spared when the law clearly states that I should die?”

Finally, only Jesus and I were left there in the dusty street. I kept my head bowed, too ashamed to look up at Him. He knew what I had done, and I felt like a worthless woman. When He finally spoke, He spoke gently. “Where is everyone?” He asked me. “Isn't there anyone left to accuse you?”

“No sir,” I answered.

And then He spoke the words of freedom I will never forget: “I am not going to accuse you either. You may go now, but don't sin anymore.” I was forgiven! Spared! Released!

Whenever I feel guilt and shame about that day, I remind myself of His words. They are my assurance that I have worth—that I am valued. And they give me strength to be a new and better person.

Once I was called, “ the woman caught in adultery.” But now I’m called, “the woman saved by grace.”

(Based on John 8)

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By Nancy Canwell. Copyright © 2011 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the Contemporary English Version ®.


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