I have a strong capacity for believing the best of people. It has been a great asset to me as a friend, a pastor, and a leader. It can also be a liability. I have often had to heed the council of friends when they say to me, “Tracy, just because you are not paranoid, doesn’t mean they are not out to get you!”
Jesus’ capacity to believe the best in people is infinite. Yet, He never loses sight of the reality of someone else’s capacity for evil. In John 8, the Pharisees drag a woman caught in adultery to Jesus. They summarized the Law of Moses and asked Jesus what He thought. The Bible actually says, “They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him” (Jn 8:6).
Jesus’ response is incredible, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her (Jn 8:7).” The Pharisees and the crowd that had gathered left one by one beginning with the older ones first.
This experience shows us Jesus modeling two characteristics: Meekness and Humility. Micah 6:8 says, “Love mercy, act justly, and walk humbly with your God.” There are some people who do not understand what this means. It is living out meekness and humility. “Loving mercy” and “acting justly” are two sides to the single coin of meekness. And “walking humbly with your God” speaks plainly enough. However, the world has given us a lot of misinformation about these two words with the direct intent to deceive us.
The world says meekness is weak, a doormat. Who in their right mind wants to be weak. Who wants others to walk all over them. So believers have struggled with the idea of meekness. Some have thrown it out not willing to be weak. Others have submitted themselves to life as a doormat collecting all the dirt and grime others can wipe off all over them.
Biblical Meekness is an equestrian term. Think about a wild stallion – the beauty, wildness, power, and strength. Now put a bit in his mouth and you have the stallion under control. Simply stated meekness is strength under control.
As for humility, the world would have you believe to be humble is to be psychologically crippled. You have no self-worth. You think you are a worm. So we are left to question Moses’ intent when he declared he was the most humble person (Numbers 12:3 NASB). I mean according to the world, once you declare yourself humble you have lost your humility.
Biblical Humility is simply not thinking more highly of yourself than you should. As a Christian you are valued by God. He loves you. He sent His Son to die for you. He believes in you. He has plans for you. You matter to God. And yet our sinful nature leaves us susceptible to temptation. We are weak. We are dependent on God for any success we achieve. We are also interdependent on one another. There is wisdom in many counselors. We need accountability. We need encouragement. We need compassion. We need one another. This is not weakness. It is our strength as humans.
The best part of the story is NOT how Jesus’ bested the Pharisees. It is how He LOVED the adulteress.
Jesus was the ultimate stallion under control. He knew He was without sin, but He didn’t need to condemn her. She stood there broken. He accepted her. He looked at her and loved her. He gave her mercy. He acted justly. He walked humbly.
Yet in all of this Jesus didn’t excuse her adulteress ways. He didn’t change the meaning of purity or the value of marriage. Forgiving her He said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more” (Jn 8:11). That is what I call Accountable Grace. He pointed to a better way.
Jesus is the author of life. He lived it perfectly. His principles, precepts and commands are not meant to control us, but to give us life to the fullest. In a world that devalues biblical principles, we can be tempted to offer cheap grace: forgiveness while leaving a person to continue to live a life that is never satisfying but always needing more.
At Discover Point, we follow Jesus and invite others to come along. We celebrate a concept #LIVELOVE. In meekness and humility we set out to treat others with the same respect, mercy, and love that Jesus did. We also believe in accountable grace, not a bunch of religious rules, just holding one another accountable to following Jesus.
How about you? Do you #LIVELOVE?