Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” John 8:10-11
It’s gonna happen…it just should not happen there. Life is filled with bumps and bruises. They’re gonna happen like it or not but sometimes they are made worse by the timing and location. A flat tire is never fun but take that same flat tire and let it happen on a rainy Monday on the way to an interview for a new job and it is just worse. Your car breaking down is just a bad deal but when it happens out in the middle of nowhere and with no cellphone service…well, your day just went south.
I once experienced something that well, it just shouldn’t have happened but where it happened and how it happened just made it worse. It was a Sunday morning in South Georgia and like any other Sunday morning I was in church. I went to church for several reasons…like it was the right thing to do, I thought it might make God happy and usually I enjoyed it. On this particular day…well, let’s just say I had that proverbial flat tire on a rainy Monday out in the middle of nowhere. The story goes like this.
Ever since I was a kid I liked to sing, and people said they enjoyed it. So, I was occasionally asked to sing at church. On this particular Sunday morning I was asked to sing. Now there is something you need to know before we go any further. You see, the church I attended was strict with certain things and one of those things was that guys should not have hair over their ears. That was a big no, no. And believe it or not, even though I was in the Air Force I had found a way to have hair over my ears. It involved “Dippity-do” but that’s another story.
Well, that Sunday was my time to sing. I went to the stage and did the very best I could to sing for Jesus. With my “hair over my ears” waving in the wind I went up and I came down. I was glad to sing but was also glad it was over. Well, it wasn’t. Because that Sunday we had a special speaker. And because of what happened, I remember him very, very, well. He stepped behind the pulpit, and I got the surprise of my young life. I was surprised because what he said was like a dagger in my heart. Here’s what he said.
With his deep and authoritative voice, in front of the entire church, he said, “Young man, if I had hair like yours, I would be ashamed to stand up and sing for Jesus.” I was shocked. I was hurt. I was mortally embarrassed. Not because of my hair, not because I had caused Jesus to frown (which I didn’t) but because this man who represented God had put me on trial, judged me, and sentenced me. Honestly, it’s a miracle I didn’t walk out and keep right on walking.
Like I said, things like this happen but they should never, ever happen in church. We wonder why people don’t want to come to church and unfortunately too often it is things like this. You see, church should be a safe place…a loving place. Church should be a place not for perfect people (because there aren’t any) but for forgiven people. Church should be a grace place and not a place to judge and throw rocks. Church should be a place where people see Jesus everywhere…in the lives of everyone.
I love the fact that the people who flocked to Jesus were the most broken in the community. They liked Him and He loved them. He was perfectly comfortable with sitting down with the worse sinner in town and having lunch. Trust me, that drove the religious people crazy. They said some very nasty things about Jesus because of that but the truth is…Jesus came to rescue the lost, the broken…people like me and you.
Well, the good news is I survived that Sunday morning, but it left a scar that remains to this day. My wife reminded me that my pastor came up afterwards and apologized. I’m glad he did. We need to have the courage to speak up when a wrong occurs…Jesus would. I can never get enough of the story in the Bible about the woman taken in adultery. The rock throwers wanted to kill her but instead Jesus loved and forgave her. I like that. A lot. So, if you find yourself wounded by a rock chucker just remember Jesus loves you…even if someone else doesn’t. And remember, no matter what, “He’s got this.” Bro. Dewayne