• Lane of Roses

Come As The Women You Are

Written by: Jolene Combs

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...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?

- John 8:9 -10


“I never meant to let it get this far.” I said as I tried to grab something to cover me.


All I wanted was a nice dinner date and some quality conversation. I’ve been craving some type of human interaction so much lately. I should have assumed there was only one reason he wanted to take me to dinner, but here I am no better off than I was before.


It all happened so quickly that the details are hard to piece together. I do distinctly remember the door being thrown open and the light streaming in, revealing the secrets in every corner. In with the light poured a heavy blanket of shame and guilt that now seems to be taking the very breath from my lungs.


Before I can register what’s actually going on, I am pulled to my feet and dragged out the door with these intruders. They seem very commanding with their robes and tassels and presence that fills the spaces in the room that haven’t already been filled up with blinding light and shame. I try to fight and refuse and cower in the corner, but the ultimate choice isn’t left up to me.


As I struggle along I am faced with so many questions. Why am I the only one? Where is he? Doesn’t it take two? Why am I so alone when only moments before that wasn’t the case? These thoughts fight for position in my mind as I try to keep up with my accusers while at the same time try to keep the sheet wrapped around my body.


I don’t know where we’re going, but I quickly realize it won’t be a place with any privacy. The darkness that had covered my shame is nowhere to be found. I am out in the open. Exposed. Shamed. Revealed. And there’s not a single thing I can do about it. With my head hung lower than it's ever been before, I trudge along. With every step the weight of it all seems to be pulling me to the ground. I guess that’s where I belong now.


Along the way I hear whispers and jeers and snickers of self-righteousness. But now the sound of the crowd ahead of us is getting louder. I don’t look up to register where we are.


Soon the noise dies down as those on the edge see us coming. They have no choice but to step aside and clear a path. All I see as my head is down are shuffling feet making a path for my shame to be out in the open for all to witness. This causes me to somehow shrink even lower into the thinness of the sheet around me. Before I can register anything else I am shoved down into the dust. I hear muffled voices saying something about Moses and the law and being stoned. But there’s also some type of a question posed to whoever I have been cast in front of. Nothing is clear in my mind because of the cloud of guilt that has completely encompassed me.


The first thing to pierce a small hole in the darkness is silence. The question has been posed and I can only assume that everyone is waiting for the answer. I guess I am too. The silence is deafening. As I am trying to adjust to this oddity I catch a glimpse of a finger out of the corner of my eye. I instinctively flinch in response, but the finger isn’t pointed at me. It’s pointed at the ground and begins to write in the dust. I can’t see what the finger is writing, but what I can see are the shuffling sandals of my accusers fleeing the scene. One by one they turn and push their way out of the crowd that is now also curious as to what the finger is writing.


Before I know it, all the feet of my accusers have left and I am alone in front of another pair of feet. I can’t remember the last time I lifted my head to look someone in the eye, so I’m very aware of feet. These are the feet and sandals of one who has been traveling a lot. But before any other observations have been made, a hand nestles softly under my chin and slowly raises my face. The tenderness is foreign and it takes a moment for His face to come into focus.


I am struck with the realization that I have never witnessed eyes more kind, tender, and loving ever before in my life. They seem to pierce through me and see every single ounce of my shame and yet they keep searching the depths of my heart. Why isn’t He looking away? Doesn’t He see the shame stamped across my sweaty forehead?


For some reason He sees none of it. All He sees is me. Me in my exposed state with nothing to cover the shame. My instinct is to run, but something holds me in place returning His loving gaze.

His next words are a question. He asks me where my accusers are. It takes only a glance to realize that those priestly robes and tassels are nowhere in sight. He’s asking if anyone is condemning me. I have no response except to shake my head and shrug my shoulders. I am bewildered and confused. They were just here a second ago dragging me along in the path of my very evident sin.

He tenderly cups my chin again and turns my face to look lovingly into His eyes.


I’m not accusing you. Go and sin no more. It’s a statement. There’s a finality to it. I’m not entirely sure what it all means, but as if to reassure me He takes his out coat off and places it protectively around my shoulders. He slowly helps me rise and leads me away from the stares of the crowd that haven't left His presence. It makes sense why they haven’t left Him. Now I know I won’t leave His side either.


Who would want to leave Someone who has loved away your shame and guilt?


Adapted from John 8



Reflection

1. What parts of your life do you need to lay before Christ to truly come as you are?

2. What will your response be when He takes all your shame and sets you free?


Prayer

Father, the guilt and shame sometimes overwhelms me. I can’t see through to the promises I know You’ve given me. Give me the strength to trust in the cleansing power that only Your Name can bring. I want to live that free life that only You can offer. Thank You for loving me unconditionally. Amen.



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