“Neither Do I Condemn You”
Romans 6:23 | Romans 3:23 | Isaiah 6:7 | John 3:16-18
The woman caught in the act of adultery was made to stand in front of Jesus, exposed and with all her sin and shame laid bare. The law demanded she be punished by death. Yet Jesus, the only person without sin himself, and thus the only one who has the moral authority to condemn her, chose not to do so. What an overwhelming sense of relief it must have been to have heard those words “Neither do I condemn you”. All of us as Christians need to have had a similar experience. We need to know, deep in our hearts, that although Jesus sees all our sin and shame – nothing is hidden from him – he does not condemn us. Only when we have experienced that for ourselves do we find we have the inner grace not to condemn others whose lifestyles might not be compatible with our Christian values, because we have a deep realisation we are all in the same boat. All of us are sinners. Every one of us falls short of God’s standard.
Of course, Jesus also added “Go and leave your life of sin behind”. The trouble with us Christians is that we often want to say, or imply, that bit first. We expect people to turn from their sin, and then we won’t condemn them. But Jesus said his amazing words of non-condemnation first. In doing so, he communicated self worth and dignity, helping people to identify with the person God created them to be before the curse of sin defiled us. We must learn to do the same. Communicate non condemnation, acceptance, self-worth and dignity and then we’ll win the right to leave their life of sin behind and indeed the person will find the inner power to do so.