The difference makes the difference. That was the title of a past devotion. The author’s comments have stayed with me and then one of my fellow bloggers referenced Acts 4:13 “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” It made me think and question. Exactly what do my actions say to those I encounter? Do they see anything different than the norm?
Let’s face it the world projects varied images. Am I a cookie cutter copy, or do I reflect anything different? This past sermon series on being weird still has me contemplating what I project, what I value and it has taken me back to the Gospel of John. Chapter 8 begins with Jesus in the temple courts; at dawn no less! And I share:
At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts; where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
11 “No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
Just love that story of our Savior’s compassion, but the part that I focused on was verse 9, where after being challenged, the men walked away, one-by-one. I can just hear the proverbial stones in their hands being dropped to the earth – thud – thud – thud, which brings me to my conviction. How many times have I been “there”? How many times did I lament, moan, complain, and whine to my Lord? “Lord don’t you see? Doesn’t anyone follow the rules? Doesn’t anyone know the value of promptness, courtesy, and just a good day’s work? I feel like I’m the only one. Ouch. I can see my Savior sigh and tell me – Let it go.
It’s not just that I am prepared to throw that stone. It’s that I h ave this little basket with me holding all the accusations, neatly labeled for those “other people” so I am prepared with my arsenal. Wow Lord, when did I get so far off the path? Forgive me. When I don my martyr robes and point out everyone else’s faults, when I am quick to note their weaknesses, when I just simply ignore the attitude that has crept into my mind and heart – it is then I hear my Lord say, “Drop the stone Doneta. Walk away.” Those are the times when I have mentally berated another’s action and I need to remember – but for the grace of God…there go I.
God has seen fit to create all of us differently and none of us remain perfect. Like my past blog on losing focus in this cosmic expanse; I need to refocus on John 13:34-35:
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
God loves me and calls me to be different – not when it’s easy, but when it’s tough, not just some of the time, but all of the time and not only dropping the stone, but walking away.
Lord, lift my burden and point my face to you. I thank you for the grace I absolutely do not deserve and your mercy, which is new every morning.
Blessings, as you re-focus today. Doneta