Hanging with Jesus in the Room of Grace

Jesus went across to Mount Olives, but he was soon back in the Temple again. Swarms of people came to him. He sat down and taught them.

The religion scholars and Pharisees led in a woman who had been caught in an act of adultery. They stood her in plain sight of everyone and said, “Teacher, this woman was caught red-handed in the act of adultery. Moses, in the Law, gives orders to stone such persons. What do you say?” They were trying to trap him into saying something incriminating so they could bring charges against him.

Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger in the dirt. They kept at him, badgering him. He straightened up and said, “The sinless one among you, go first: Throw the stone.” Bending down again, he wrote some more in the dirt.

Hearing that, they walked away, one after another, beginning with the oldest. The woman was left alone. Jesus stood up and spoke to her. “Woman, where are they? Does no one condemn you?”

“No one, Master.”

“Neither do I,” said Jesus. “Go on your way. From now on, don’t sin.” John 8:1-11

Hanging in the room of grace, I’m starting to see a lot of things. I’m starting to see how this story is possible.

Neither do IIn the past, I have always wondered how this could have happened. Jesus was the Son of God. How is it possible that He did not condemn a woman caught in sin, actually caught while committing the act? How could He just look at her and say, “Yeah, I’m not going to accuse you. I think you already know that it wasn’t right what you did, so I’m not going to accuse you. But stop sinning. You need to stop.”

Now, since I’ve been hanging in the room of grace, I have the ability to see why Jesus treated the woman this way. The Son of God did not look at sinners and say, “Oh, I cannot be around this!” I can see that He loved being around sinners. I can see why sinners loved being around Him. He was in the room of grace, and because of that, when He looked at people He said, “They’re human beings. And they’re going to have these problems. It’s part of life. Even when they accept me as their Savior, even when they accept that I died for them, they’re still going to have these problems.” Jesus knew that!

Paul wrote about it in his letter to the Romans, and he is so honest! Romans is so good to read when you start learning about grace and trust in relationships. In Chapter 7 he asks, “Why do I always do what I don’t want to do, and what I want to do, I don’t do?” We know the answer before he tells us. It’s because he lives in his flesh!

But nowhere in Scripture can I find anything about the redemption of the flesh. Nowhere does the Bible say that Jesus died to change our flesh. He died so we can live by the Spirit. He knew we’d still experience problems in our flesh.

Hanging in the room of grace, I have started to realize that I can live in a trusting relationship with people. I can trust them that they are who they are. They can trust that I am who I am. We can trust each other, we can love on each other, and we can encourage each other. We don’t have to perform to be liked.

It’s so freeing to get into relationships where you don’t have to perform to be liked. It’s so freeing to know that you are liked just because. Someone likes you and loves you, just as you are. And when that happens, you begin to see people as Jesus sees us. You know that flesh will always be flesh. You can stop trying to hide that behind a mask.

More on that point next time. See you Thursday.

Taking the Wrong and Putting it Right

Recently, I’ve been reflecting on the different ways that the hot water of the Spirit can transform our relationships. When you replace judgment with encouragement, your relationships will transform. And you will transform with them. You will learn to better reflect Christ in all that you do.

For example, I reflected last time on parenting in ways that keep your children feeling safe in their relationship with you. If you can discipline without judgment, your children will continue to come to you and talk to you. This is your opportunity to better reflect Jesus with them. Continue reading

Intimacy and Judgment with Children

Last time I wrote about how the the Spirit can transform your intimate relationships. I used the example of approaching your spouse with an attitude of encouragement instead of criticism. How much more can you accomplish if you take the same attitude with your children?

I want a safe environment for dialogue with my kids. I want my kids to be able to talk to me without fear.

“Hey dad, I messed up.”

“What did you do?”

“Well, I was speeding. I got a ticket.”

“Right. So what are we going to do about that? Let’s talk about it.” Continue reading

You Can’t Change Others

I’ve been writing a lot about the lesson of the copper pipe and the way that it has liberated me from my judgments. Now I look at all the people in my life, including myself, as more or less the same. In our flesh, we’re all copper pipes. In our flesh, we all sin. We might deal with different sins, and we might deal with our sins in different ways, but we are all sinning. No one is better than another.

I’ve also written that copper pipes never change. We will never change, not on our own. But Jesus can change us. By running through us like hot water, Jesus heats us up with the wisdom of the Spirit. We can’t change ourselves, but in Him, we can be changed. Continue reading

Judging the Non-Believer

Have you heard comments like these?

“You Christian people think you’re better than us. Christians judge everything everybody does.”

“It’s the Christians who are always saying, ‘Oh my gosh, you’re doing this, you’re bad.’”

People who don’t even know me will look at me and say, “Don’t you make mistakes? Don’t you have flaws?”

Well, of course I do! Continue reading

Saints Who Sin

The more this lesson of the copper pipe sinks in, the more peace I find. I’m so focused on what’s in the present. I’m so aware of what’s going on at any given moment. I’m so mindful of my own feelings and reactions.

I might be driving down the road and a guy cuts me off and gives me the finger. It makes me so mad! I realize how much I want to snap on that guy. But I don’t. Now I realize how irritable I am before I snap at someone.

And you know that in the past, I have snapped on that guy. I’ve been angry. I’ve been frustrated. I have cussed somebody out. And yes, I have flipped somebody off. I’ve done all those things. As a believer!

And I still feel anger or frustration. I’m just getting a lot better about not acting on it. Continue reading

The Lesson of the Copper Pipe, Redux

Lately I’ve been writing about how we can use the metaphor of the copper pipe to avoid passing judgment on others, as Jesus instructed us in the Gospel of John. Here’s the bottom line. Every human being, in their flesh, is a copper pipe. As such, we cannot change. We can’t change ourselves any more than a copper pipe can be anything but a copper pipe. But we can be changed. We can be changed the same way a copper pipe can be changed. A copper pipe can heat up when hot water flows through it. Hot water can change us. So if you want to change, you need hot water. And the hot water comes from Jesus. Continue reading