The Mark of Love

A few years ago I knew it all. I knew what was right and what was clearly wrong. I believed my convictions were right in the eyes of God. I believed that being right was more important than people.

This evening as I was chatting with a co-worker I realized how that me was judgmental and legalistic; basically I was a Pharisees who desperately needed her heart to be circumcised.

Anytime we are judgmental, critical and legalistic we are automatically segregating ourselves and leaving no room from loving people.

Love the sinner but, hate the sin was something I have heard a million times and honestly I have probably said it a time or two myself. But, recently when I was talking with another co-worker whom said they would NOT accept their child if they lived a certain “lifestyle” my heart broke for their child and it made me think, “is that NOT the definition of conditional love?”

When we rank sin we are sinning.

When we judge others lifestyles we are sinning.

When we believe we are the authority to call others on their sin, we are sinning.

Let’s look at the story of the woman caught in adultery in John 8:1-11 (The Message):

“Jesus went across to Mount Olives, but he was soon back in the Temple again. Swarms of people came to him. He sat down and taught them.

The religion scholars and Pharisees led in a woman who had been caught in an act of adultery. They stood her in plain sight of everyone and said, “Teacher, this woman was caught red-handed in the act of adultery. Moses, in the Law, gives orders to stone such persons. What do you say?” They were trying to trap him into saying something incriminating so they could bring charges against him.

Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger in the dirt. They kept at him, badgering him. He straightened up and said, “The sinless one among you, go first: Throw the stone.” Bending down again, he wrote some more in the dirt.

 Hearing that, they walked away, one after another, beginning with the oldest. The woman was left alone. Jesus stood up and spoke to her. “Woman, where are they? Does no one condemn you?”

 “No one, Master.”

“Neither do I,” said Jesus. “Go on your way. From now on, don’t sin.”

“Go on your way, From now on, don’t sin.” I have heard this simple verse used to convict others to STOP sinning and to work harder at being a good Christian. I have heard this verse used to shame and guilt people into believing that if Jesus loved them enough they would miraculously STOP sinning as an outward expression of accepting Jesus as their Lord and savior.

The Greek word hamartane means to miss the mark.

The Greek word mēketi means no longer, not anymore.

What if Jesus was NOT saying do NOT sin anymore; instead He was saying you are no longer your sin. You are no longer marked by your sin. You are marked by forgiveness. You are marked as loved. You are marked as precious. This did NOT mean she or we will NEVER sin again instead, it means we are NO longer our sin.

With any translation we have to remember it was man who translated these words for us to understand and we can NOT discount possible errors or misunderstanding of a message in context of whom was speaking the words.

Looking at the whole message of Jesus we can definetly say love was a BIG deal to him and it was something He reminded us to focus our attention on whole heartedly.

I am not sure why we are so hell bent on being right and proving other people wrong but, it has become a normal part of our society. Shaming, picking apart and belittling people and sadly it is usually done to make ourselves feel better about our own choices in life. The further I have separated from my religious legalistic beliefs I have come to realize loving people is the only way to live this one life we have been given.

Love people.

Stop shaming people.

Stop judging and picking apart.

Be okay with NOT knowing all the answers.

Let LOVE be the mark we label ourselves and other people.

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