Forgiveness


(Spectrumbot) #1

The ancient steps that I stood upon were cracked with wrinkled veins of age. Each splintered line a reflection of times and events in history that I prayed would never be forgotten. This holy place overlooked the foot hills that surrounded the historic city of David and Jerusalem beyond. The view was an oxymoronic blend of ancient alabaster structures built centuries before Christ, contrasted against modern buildings standing straight and tall along the horizon. It was a testament I thought, to the harmony between old and new. And of how much the world had changed, yet in many ways remained the same.

A sudden gust of wind swept across the great Temple kicking up a cloud of chalk-colored dust, and I pulled my jacket up around my neck in defense of the bite and closed my eyes, taking myself back in time. After a few moments, the modern sounds around me became muffled voices that eventually faded into silence. And I imagined how it may have been over 2,000 years ago, on these same steps on the Mount of Olives where Jesus taught.

Slowly the images began to form, and I smiled as I began to see the people gathered around Him. I could see their looks of joy and wonder at the message that He carried and of the miracles He had performed. And then. I felt myself there among them.

***

He was clad in an ash-colored robe with a simple gold sash tied at His waist, and there was a brown woven shawl that hung over His broad and sturdy shoulders. His shoulder length hair was the color of cinnamon, and as He turned His face to speak to the people crowded around Him, the fading sunlight glistened on His long mane like shiny strands of gold.

There were men, a dozen or more of many ages who stood around Him in a circle. Others sat on the steps near His feet, quietly watching, nodding in silent agreement and peering at Him with looks of amazement. There was a gentle warmth in His dark mahogany eyes that seemed to speak to me and I watched Him, mesmerized by His presence.

But then, suddenly, the frantic sound of loud voices erupted near the eastern entrance. I looked down to see a boisterous crowd of a dozen or more coming up the steps. And stumbling ahead of them was a tall woman with raven hair clad in an ivory tunic that was ripped and tattered. She was being shoved through the entrance of the Temple by two men, and there were many others behind them who were shouting and crying out, pumping their fists in the air. I could see a thin line of blood on her cheek and as she stumbled forward, two men, tall and muscular, gripped her frail arms lifting her up when she fell.

I watched as they drug the woman up the uneven steps, limp and bleeding, and when they reached the top, they dropped her near His feet. He leaned down and gently stroked her head, as a mother would soothe a frightened child.

“Why have you seized this poor woman?” He asked, standing before the angry crowd.

As His words seemed to hang motionless in the crisp air, a sudden gust of wind swept across the Temple steps hurling a cloud of dust that hovered around the feet of the angry men like a dense fog. Then thunder rumbled ominously as angry slate-colored clouds moved quickly across the horizon, blocking out the fading sunlight.

The mob was cast in a blanket of darkness as if day had suddenly changed to night, and there were gasps and frightened whispers heard among them. But the Man stood alone; bathed in a bright wedge of light that peeked through an opening in the sky. And there was a radiant hue that hovered around Him like a mist, making His eyes shine like burning embers in a fire.

Many of the men withdrew in fear. But an elder, clad in splendid colors, with a beard as white as the sandstone steps he stood upon, and long curls of hair like lamb’s wool, stepped forward to face the Him.

“Teacher!” he spoke with a loud authoritative voice. “This woman has been caught in adultery. The law of Moses says she must be punished!” He knelt and picked up a round grey stone the size of a lemon and held it up in the air. “The laws of our fathers say she must be stoned to death!” And as he finished these words, the men behind him began to scream loudly, yelling and shaking their fists in anger.

“Kill the Adulteress!” one shouted.

“Stone her!” cried another.

I watched as the angry cries continued to grow louder and louder, then the Teacher calmly knelt to the ground and began making signs in the dust with His finger. The voices calmed to hushed murmurs, intrigued by His actions.

“What is he doing?” one cried out.

“What is he writing?” another asked.

Then He stood and stepped toward the crowd, pointing at the woman who lay curled at His feet. “Let anyone among you who is without sin, be first to throw a stone at her.”

There was silence at first, then a melody of confused voices. But the cries ceased when He dropped to His knees again and began to write in the dust once more. Several of the older men in the mob pressed forward to see what manner of words this man wrote. The ancient one who had spoken of the stoning was the first to see the writing. As he read the words scripted in the dirt, his face suddenly turned ashen and the grey rock in his fist fell to the ground and clattered down the steep steps of the Temple. He slowly turned and walked away. Then the sounds of other stones falling to the ground, one after another, cracked the silence. And slowly, one by one, the other men followed the elder.

As the crowd began to disperse, the Teacher lifted the woman to her feet. He brushed twisted strands of hair from her face and used His thumb to gently wipe blood from a cut below her eye. I could see in His eyes, an incredible intensity that gleamed like stars in the evening sky. And His smile shone a warmth like that of a father’s loving embrace. Then He and the woman spoke to one another. And after a moment she fell to her knees weeping and kissed His sandaled feet.

The people who had gathered around who had seen and heard, watched Him move toward the entrance below them. Minutes later, even though He could no longer be seen, the power of His simple words still floated like a fine mist among us. And all who had been there to witness, knew they would never be the same.

***

I opened my eyes to see the amber haze of the sun as it had begun its melt into the surrounding hills. And the sounds and voices of the modern day in which I lived, began to fill the air again. Yet part of me still clung to the vision of that scene 2,000 years ago. I didn’t want to leave that incredible moment in time. It was a reminder that though we are all desperately flawed and in need of forgiveness, He would always be there to lift us to our feet, and wipe the blood from our faces, and grant us His mercy.

“And Jesus said, ‘Go now and do not sin anymore.’” —John 8-11

Bob Blundell is a freelance writer living in the Houston area. He has had previous work published in magazines such as Liguorian, Testimony, The Living Pulpit, Reachout Columbia, and Halo. This essay was originally appeared in Reachout Columbia earlier this year, and is republished here with permission from the author.

Photo by Shelby Miller on Unsplash

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/9262

(Patrick Travis) #2

So they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, to decide whose it shall be”; this was to fulfill the Scripture: “They divided My outer garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots.”25 Therefore the soldiers did these things.
But standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus then saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He *said to His mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27 Then He *said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” From that hour the disciple took her into his own household .
28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfill the Scripture, *said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar full of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop and brought it up to His mouth. 30 Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.

He died for her and us for forgiveness of sins!

Thanks


(Elmer Cupino) #3

Different emotional and psychological vehicles are frequently used to carry personal biases. The manner in how we deal and victimize females is only differentiated by what kind of vehicle we use, some shout “Kill the Adulteress!” others say “Stone her!” Our GC leaders mandate “No Women Ordination.” We are all guilty, spare none. We have not learned any lessons even after thousands of years.


#5

This biblical narrative is a beautiful story. Sadly lost on many I fear, for even now, the finger pointing is done in the name of this story of forgiveness. Stone the GC men who would dare to stand by principle. It is true, we have not learned the lessons of almost two thousand years.


#6

Are you saying the GC men’s principles are those of the Headship Heresy? Discarding women called of God to spiritual leadership and the ministry of the Gospel?

Are you advocating for the ordained women of China to be stoned for baptizing thousands in the name of Jesus Christ?


#7

Ahh, the old principle of asking question after “loaded” question, but never really asking logically.

If you had read Elmer’s comment clearly, you would have had the inference that as the woman was wanted to be stoned by the leaders 2000 years ago, so the GC leaders want to “stone” (figuratively of course) any woman who desires ordination, which prohibition is not a heresy, but biblical truth. His comment finishes with a lament that we have not learned any lessons of forgiveness and finger pointing - entirely on the side of the GC brethren of course - even after thousand of years.

I just thought it appropriate that the tenor and tone of the vitriol arguments against the GC brethren, meaning women in the GC also, because they want to stay with a biblical leadership model shows an all too stark and obvious desire to “stone the GC brethren,” and in this case, is more in keeping with the biblical object lesson. The boot is on the other foot, so to speak.

Dan Jackson has revealed in his rant how he would treat those who disagree with him if he had more power, drunk with power. Imagine how dangerous if he had more.

It is interesting that some in our society suddenly become these overwhelmed victims when they can’t get what they want; I’ve dealt with this before. And the same spirit has transferred over into the minds of some individuals in the church. If these women desire what God has not enjoined, then they are not called of God, but self called. Continuing to bring in the China situation, for which we are glad, is like making Balaam’s donkey the norm for every donkey. Balaam’s donkey was for a specific need, and in the case of China, if there is no longer the need because of the Communist Government, it will cease to become necessary. Even a child should be able to understand that.

Continuing to harp on the China situation must be a form of blaspheme. It’s like shaking ones fist at God and saying, “God you did it there, WE want it here.”

Your last sentence is so disingenuous and patently false, that it doesn’t deserve a reply.


(Elmer Cupino) #8

Can you show us clear biblical texts underlying “biblical truth” of womens prohibition from responding to the call of the Holy Spirit? That is without mental contortion and calisthenics. Obviously you have not read the TOSC consensus as our trustworthy and reputable GC leaders may have locked the study in a vault.


#9

Do I have to reply to a statement that masquerades as a question, but without question marks???


#10

Your patronizing approach does not deserve a reply either. Perhaps you can find a civil tone to respond to questions that distress you.


#11

Oh, but several of you folks on here can go even further than the “patronizing reply” but that would be okay, apparently. My last point was entirely valid, responding to a less than honest reply.


(Elmer Cupino) #12

I edited the post to reflect where the question mark should be. Would you now answer the question?


#13

Reply as soon as I can.


#14

Have downloaded nearly all of the TOSC “consencus” report, reading and replying soon.


(Elmer Cupino) #15

I’ll spare you the time.

If there were a “biblical principle” (as you claim) why did the 106 TOSC member come up with 3 options how to move forward? Wouldn’t you agree that all should have come up with the same conclusion on a “biblical principle?”


(George Tichy) #16

The statement above reveals support to and defense of those GC guys (and others) who have rocks in their hands. They already threw several rocks at women, but they not done yet.

Yes, all those discriminators have rocks in their hands and they are ready to throw them at any woman who “dares to feel called to ministry.”. I wonder how long will it take for those discriminators to start reading the words in the sand…


(George Tichy) #17

Elmer, keep asking questions like this and YOU will be stoned to death! :roll_eyes:
Yes, figuratively you will be stoned. But do not expect a biblical answer to your question, because, of course, there is none!


(George Tichy) #18

Harrpa, that was a brilliant collection of statements that would be a great success on Fulcrum7. But not here, of course, where discrimination of women is not supported but rather denounced.


(George Tichy) #19

Elmer,
The $1MI TOSC fiasco is the most significant event of ill intent and manipulation that could have ever happened in the discussion of WO in our Church.

It is, indeed, a conclusive document because it shows with any doubt that the GC had absolutely no intent in utilizing the TOSC conclusions if they did not meet their expectations. As I said right in the beginning when the TOSC was announced, it was nothing but another fake study group that was only a façade to the manipulation of the WO discussion by the “black suited guys upstairs at the GC.”

Then, when it failed to meet the GC’s expectations, we know what happened. The TOSC report was immediately trashed, and replaced by a question formulated by a couple of people and sent to be voted. The rest is history!

This is the kind of people that are leading our church now.


(Elmer Cupino) #20

This fixed belief is also seen outside of religious faith. Among children who have been victims of emotional neglect, physical or sexual abuse, they cling to the idea that their parents did nothing wrong. Wives who have been subjected to physical abuse also cling to this notion that physical abuse is part of being loved. The same for religious beliefs, “biblical principles” are discovered where there are none for the sole reason of anchoring personal biases.

@Jimmy


(George Tichy) #21

The easiest think to do it to keep repeating, “the the Bible says…” And it may actually be an effective technique if it’s done by a figure of authority like, for example, a pastor or an influential member of the church.

In some cases, like here for example, some people will use a different technique; they will use the tactic of making detrimental, ad hominem comments directed at those who refuse to bow down to the discrimination of women as taught by the headship heresy. They talk as if they were God’s representatives and, therefore, those who disagree with them must then actually be Satan’s agents.

Absurdity on steroids.