- Theory is great until it meets reality. When was a time that you wanted something in theory, but the reality did not turn out how you wanted or expected?
- When was a time that someone showed love to you when you didn’t deserve it?
- Who is that person in your life whom you’re hesitant to love because it would be messy? What would it look like for you to enter into that mess and love that person the way Jesus would?
Read through John 8:1-11
Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery.
They put her in front of the crowd. “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.
When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 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.”
In this passage, a group of people bring a woman to Jesus who was caught in the act of adultery. They saw this woman as someone who committed the worst possible thing she could do — how could anyone forgive a woman like her? But then Jesus completely flips the script on them. He says to them, “Let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone.” They all walked away.
- Love is full of grace and truth. We need both, and because we need both, it’s messy. How do you think this situation would've been considered messy in Jesus’ time?
- How did Jesus show the woman both grace and truth?
- What can we learn from the way Jesus loves the woman in this story?
Make The Change
Maybe you’re thinking about a specific person in your life right now, someone who is messy, and you’re trying to figure out how to love them.
- What would it look like to enter that mess and love that person well?
- What is one thing you can do this week to love that person?
If there’s no one in your life that’s messy, you might just be following Jesus in theory.
- As you follow Jesus longer, is your life becoming neater, cleaner, and more sanitized? Or is it becoming more messy as you love people the way Jesus would?
- Depending on how you answered the previous question, what is one step you can take to love people the way Jesus would by entering into the mess?