The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?”
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. 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.”
Again he stopped down and wrote on the ground.
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. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither to I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin [suffering].”
–Somewhere in the Gospel of John
Yesterday, I sat in a courtroom to answer the question of whether I was a mother unfit to care for her kids.
The fact that I have always provided for them, have treated them with love and kindness, have done my best to nurture their spirits and their bodies, didn’t matter.
The question at hand was whether I was mentally ill.
I do not discount such concerns. The trauma of my divorce, and the subsequent prescriptions of drugs that dulled me, meant that I have struggled to get my head above water for several years.
But now I am swimming, and not struggling anymore, and sure of myself. And that assurance, and that confidence, and that faithfulness, means that many think I am crazy.
It appears a man who has made promises to love and cherish his wife, but betrays her in many ways, is considered sane by some. Rational.
But a mother who tells her kids she needs a little more time to figure something out, that maybe God has a plan for her that is different than the one she thought, is mentally ill.
When I walked through this world heartbroken and suicidal, weak, looking to everyone else for answers, I was considered normal.
Now that I am healed and whole, and have a renewed passion for my faith, and want to teach it, I am crazy.
Do we really think so little of women?
Do we really think that a woman cannot be called on by God for a new kind of ministry?
Do we really think that a mother who is looking out for her children’s future, and the future of other children, is so wrong?
Many men and women seem to think so.
A faithful woman, it seems, is a scary thing. She is not to be trusted. She cannot know the way of God.
Because many of us think men own the bible. We think men own God. We think men own Jesus Christ. We think men know how his teachings ought to be read, how they should be interpreted, and what is right.
But God does not work that way.
We humans are not in control of our own lives, despite how much we want to think we are. We have a lot of thoughts, and we have a lot of daydreams, and the memories of our past haunt us and sometimes make us sick.
But God knows who we are. God knows where are weak spots are, even when we don’t. And God’s purpose is not purely to pat us on the back and tell us, You’re doing okay. Everything is fine. Just stay the way you are.
God’s purpose is to open us up. God’s purpose is to say, You were blind, but here’s a chance to see.
And if you refuse to see, if you have that kind of block, God loves you anyway. But She will keep at it, I tell you. She will keep knocking on your door, presenting you opportunity after opportunity, to help you wake up and see where you were confused or wrong, so you can change direction and live in greater love. So you can be an emblem of transformation. So you can move forward and be love, and spread that love, and help the world.
Why does a man in the darkness think he knows better than God?
This is why Jesus tells us to love others, and not judge them. Because we are merely human, and we mess up. Over and over again, we mess up. We just don’t know. And so the wisest thing to do is to admit that, and to ask God to lead the way.
Teach me, Lord, about forgiveness.
Teach me, Lord, about how to heal.
Teach me, Lord, what it takes to be happy.
Teach me what True Love looks like.
Let me be you.
I no longer tell other people how it is they’re supposed to live. I can have my opinions, my biases, my personal judgements, of which I pray to be cleansed. Because I don’t know God’s hand, and may never, ever know it. I don’t know the minutiae of how God is at work in my life, how one thing I say to someone in a moment getting out of the car can have a lasting impact. And I may not be able to fathom how a single moment of attack or blame or comfort from another may fold into the essence of my being and direct me in an alternate way than I intended.
I just can’t know.
So what I can do is be disciplined. If I believe in Jesus Christ, his vastness, which saved me from despair—because seriously, he did—then I can do my best to follow him, to reach out to him, and to be faithful to the directions he leads me in. Maybe I don’t know why something happens. It is not my job to ask why. It is my job, as a servant, to say, Lord, just tell me what you need me to do to honor you.
Because the people who have hurt you in this life sometimes give you the greatest gift. They give you an opportunity, if you’re brave and strong enough, to open toward deeper love.
It does not mean you have to have dinner with them, or kiss their asses. It just means you accept their brand of being in the world, and move closer toward your own.
God only wants you to be who you are.
The deepest, purest, kindest, most forgiving and loving version of yourself.
And getting there is not easy. There is a lot of stripping away. There is, often, a lot of loss, or the prospect of loss, and the facing of many fears.
Jesus is good. There are a lot of spirits out there. A lot. You don’t always know what you’re getting when you invite them in.
But Jesus is good. He will protect you, if you ask for him.
And maybe your life doesn’t look how you thought it was going to look. Maybe man’s rules and laws about “right” and “wrong” get a little fucked up when you’re listening to God. It’s hard to know sometimes. It’s just hard to know.
So pray, and follow the gospel of Love. And have faith.
And be yourself.
That’s really all you can do.
This world is vast and unknown.