Friday, March 26, 2010

Taking a Detour

'Then neither do I condemn you,' Jesus declared. 'Go now and leave your life of sin.'" John 8:11 (NIV)

Yesterday I was running errands after work. Many of us have so many things to squeeze in to our schedules when the 5 o'clock bell rings. A dear friend of mine Michelle T...said it perfect yesterday..."The school bell rang...and my job at work was done for the day. Now my mommy job begins!"

It's all we can do as wives, mothers and co-workers in any given day...I want to encourage you today!

Again...back to my running errands after work. I went to purchase a gift for a sweet person, her daughter is taking her first communion this weekend...and I had found the perfect gift in the James Avery catalog. A first communion charm for a bracelet. I drove to the Georgetown shopping center to my local James Avery, only to find out it had close at 6pm...and it was 6:05pm when I arrived. "Well what to do, what to do?" I wanted to give this perfect gift to my friend and now what.

When I pulled into the shopping center...I had seen a Starbucks at the entrance and told myself, "Come back over here and get my favorite...skinny latte on the way out." So I gravitated to Starbucks and thought I would look up the phone number to James Avery and see if the store at Tech Ridge was open by chance.

So as a good cell phone driving woman...I pulled into the Starbuck's parking lot, parked my car in a great spot...and made my call. Well good for me! The Tech Ridge store was open until 8pm. It was now 6:20ish..and I thought..."Hey get the drink later...get over to James Avery now before it closes."

So here comes my confrontation!! I put my phone away...look before I back out of the spot...and I see a white "Rav4" coming in the distance...but I was already moving out...and noted to myself..."You have time to pull out and get out of her is a parking lot, right!" Well, this lovely driver speeds up and really makes it hard for me to pull out enough to clear a proper turn...and as I'm trying to do so...I come very close to her, "Spot on new Rav4". I make eye contact with this woman and she is giving me the, "What the X@#$! Look Lady!" And I don't awful word came out of my mouth! Mind you, I was in my car with the windows rolled up and alone...but why do we think we can be so bold when no one can hear us...or Rude?

This woman really had no reason to be an ugly driver either. I had done nothing to her car...she has actually encroached me. But the minute I got the "LOOK" from her..I wanted to spit it right back!

I was shocked at myself. I had just dropped down to a miserable level with this woman I didn't even know...and would never see again. I wanted a do-over! On my way down to the other James Avery store...I talked with God about a do-over...and how do I handle the typical...road rage driver in today's society...and not become one myself?

Well, this morning I get up and this is the very Scripture He gives me. 'Then neither do I condemn you,' Jesus declared. 'Go now and leave your life of sin.'" John 8:11 (NIV) In the middle of an ordinary teaching day Jesus shared a revealing truth about our Savior. The Pharisees interrupted His lesson by dragging in front of the crowd a woman who had been caught in adultery.

This woman had obvious, visible sin in her life. She was caught red-handed. It was easy for the lawgivers to snatch this life and display it before the crowd. They had their motives for bursting onto the scene, but Jesus flipped their intentions upside down.

When these puffed up leaders asked Jesus if this woman should be stoned, "Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger" (vs. 6b, NIV).

Did you catch His reaction to the confrontation? Silence. His mind was at work, but His mouth was not. We learn from scripture that Jesus asked His Father in heaven about every decision before moving forward. Why would this situation be any different?

We've probably all heard that pausing to count to ten before getting angry can diffuse an argument, but I want to park here a minute to see what Jesus did.

Jesus' agenda had just been altered by a bunch of self-righteous leaders. He was preparing to teach truth, and now He had the opportunity to live it. Instead of a quick response He hit the pause button while the Pharisees continued the barrage. Jesus was in no rush to respond.

As He bent down, I imagine Him offering up prayers. He saw that broken woman, He heard that accusing crowd, and yet His focus was on truth. The verse tells us He didn't just stand up, He straightened up. Jesus knew about body language before it was hip to study it. The power of this visual communication meant that He was about to say something that would pierce their hearts.

Many scholars have guessed Jesus was writing on the ground all of the sins of each of the accusers there. His words, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her" (vs. 7, NIV), must have been the first glimpse of light this woman had seen in a long time. Finally, someone saw value in her beyond the bedroom.

Can you imagine the flood of emotions filling her at that moment? She witnessed hope in the middle of her circumstance. Jesus then straightened up to speak to her. He declared that He did not condemn her but she must leave her life of sin. She was given a do-over!

I want a do-over from yesterday...I wish, I could have pause and just counted to ten...maybe even rolled the window down and asked her, "How can I pray for you today?" Instead of allowing her negative behavior take control of mine.

I'm a witness: Jesus is the master of second chances. Throughout the Bible He not only raised the physically dead, He resurrected the spiritually and emotionally dead as well.

Romans 3:10 tells us, "There is no one righteous, not even one" (NIV). Jesus wants you to see that you are not alone. If you look around and think that everyone else has it all together, this story is for you. No one is righteous, not even one! Everyone has their sins, some are just more visible than others. But Jesus knows your heart. He knows your struggles. He sees what plagues your life.

Where are you in this story? Are you the adulterous woman looking for hope? Are you the leader looking to condemn? Are you part of the crowd standing silently in the background? There was only One in this story without sin and He offered grace.

Jesus gave us the perfect example of how to live the truth. Quietly seek the Father's guidance. Think before we speak. Then straighten up and live redeemed.

He has come to give you a second chance; a do-over. Will you listen to His voice?

Bottom line for I rode down the interstate...God helped me see a better way of dealing with road rage. Now I have a wink and a point with a smile time I encounter someone who needs a hug!

Mama Barb

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