Neither Do I Condemn You
Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" "No one, sir," she said. "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin." (John 8:10-11, NIV)
Feeling condemned, guilty, inferior, judged, rejected and unacceptable is standard procedure for many people these days. They are either the recipient of such treatment or the deliverer of these things.
When we are criticized and condemned by others, and when we live under the guilt that comes from our own heart, it weighs us down to the point of defeat and despair. Living in the bondage of condemnation is like living in a prison. When we are stuck in the “bondo condo” of guilt, shame and condemnation, we don’t run to God, we often run from Him. We figure He feels the same way about us. We are wrong! God doesn’t want any of His children to live under condemnation.
In this story about the “woman caught in adultery” (and the man was there, too) – if anyone had a right to pile on the guilt, shame and condemnation it would have been Jesus, right? After all, He’s the only one without sin and from His position of perfection, He had a right to look down His nose and condemn the woman. Instead, Jesus did the opposite. He asked her where the “condemners” were. As it turns out, those who were most critical of her sin and ready to stone her turned into cowards and walked away. Then, Jesus turned to the woman and said, “Then neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin.”
The fact that Jesus didn't condemn this woman for a clear, provable, shameful sin, but rather deliberately told her He didn't condemn her, is pretty amazing. It shows us how rich in mercy God really is! Jesus didn't condone the sin – He simply said, "Go and sin no more." His response to her blatant sin should make us love Jesus all the more. We see His heart towards her and towards us. He is not a God who condemns. It's so simple and profound...and liberating!
Listen to what Jesus said in John 3:17, (the verse after John 3:16!), “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” (John 3:17, NIV) This verse reminds us, if Jesus isn't in the condemning business then we shouldn't be either.
Jesus did not come to condemn. Jesus came to save – to rescue, restore, forgive, heal and make whole. He's not an accuser, critic or angry judge. Jesus accepts us just as we are and tells us to "go and sin no more." Through His work on the cross, He's taken our sins – past, present and future – and exchanged them for His righteousness. We sing a song at our church with one line that perfectly describes this, "Because of Your blood and Your finished work, there is therefore now no condemnation." It's true!
The next time you are tempted to live under self-imposed condemnation for your shortcomings – or the next time you are tempted to be critical of the failures of others – remember what Jesus said, “Then neither do I condemn you.”
Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1, NASB)
Say It: "Father, I am so grateful for Your mercies which are new every morning! Jesus, help me to be like You – by not condemning, judging or criticizing the failures of others. I thank You that You do not condemn me for my sins, failures and shortcomings. I receive Your forgiveness and with Your help, I will not live under the bondage of condemnation any longer. Today, I will go on my way and sin no more. In Jesus' Name. Amen."
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