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Homewrecking Wives & Drunken Prayers: Why We Should Stop Trying to Love Like Jesus

By Scott Sauls

I love how Jesus related to damaged, condemned people.

Don’t you?

A woman sins against God and is caught in the act of adultery. She wrecks a home. She brings shame upon herself and her community. Pious men take her shame public. “Lawbreakers must not be tolerated,” they think. “She must be condemned for her behavior, cast out for her infidelities, shamed for her shameful act. She must be made into an example.”

This is what happens in a group of people who have sound theology but are lacking in love. A Colosseum culture develops. Everyone rallies around a common enemy — the sinner. Robbers, evildoers, tax collectors, adulterers and adulteresses. And then the pouncing and the piling on. The shaming.

What’s wrong with the world? “Other people,” says the mob surrounding the adulteress. “What’s wrong with the world is other people…those who aren’t one of us.”

But not Jesus. Jesus, left alone with the woman, simply says to her two things: “I do not condemn you. Now leave your life of sin.” The order of these two sentences is everything. Reverse the order of these two sentences and you’ll lose Christianity. Reverse the order and you’ll lose Jesus.

As was the case with Jesus, so it will be with his people when we create environments that communicate “no condemnation” first, before we ever start talking about law, obedience and ethics. Because with Jesus, grace and love establish the environment for the morality conversation. It is not our repentance that leads to God’s kindness, but God’s kindness that leads to our repentance.

After 18 years of pastoral ministry, I have never met a person who fell in love with Jesus because a Christian scolded them about their morality or their ethics. Have you?

Expanding our “us”

Once we were having a small prayer gathering with some friends. Just before we began praying together, in came a couple we had never met and who had been invited by someone else in the group. The man, who I will call Matthew, was very drunk, and his wife had this been-through-war, can-somebody-please-help-me, I’m-dying-inside look on her face.

As we prayed together, Matthew decided to chime in. His was a drunk prayer that went on for over 10 minutes. He prayed some of the strangest things. “God, protect us from the Klingons. God, I really want a Jolly Rancher right now, will you bring us some Jolly Ranchers? God, please move my bananas to the dog house.”

After the “Amen,” everyone looked at me. What will the pastor do? Thankfully, I didn’t need to do anything because a woman from the group, full of love and situational intelligence, offered Matthew a cookie. As the woman was giving him a cookie and entertaining conversation about Klingons and such, several others went over to his wife and begged for insight on how they could help the situation.

This little interaction, this way of responding with love and “no condemnation first,” became one of the most transformative experiences I have ever witnessed. To make a long and wonderful story short, the kindhearted offer of a cookie led to a tribe of people coming around the couple and their two young children, which led to a month of rehab in Arizona — including prayers and support as well as flights and personal visits to the rehab center by church members, which led to sobriety, which led to a restored home and marriage, which led to Matthew becoming a follower of Jesus, which led to him also becoming an elder in the church.

Gone Without a Trace: Understanding Ghosting and Its Emotional Impact

Ghosting is the act of abruptly ending all communication with someone without any explanation, leaving the person on the receiving end feeling confused, hurt, and often questioning what went wrong.

10 Fascinating Facts About Sleep Paralysis Demons That Will Help Shed Light on This Scary Phenomenon

Discover 10 intriguing facts about sleep paralysis demons. Learn what they are, if they can harm you, and explore their cultural significance.