The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?” They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court. Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you either. Go. From now on sin no more.” – John 8:8-11

The girl sat alone and cried. She had driven by that church so many times. The cross at the top stabbed at her heart, reminding her of the life she had left behind. What had happened to those days of innocence? She couldn’t say. All she knew was that they were gone. She had mustered all her effort, had driven to the church and found her way to the back pew, avoiding eye contact, for surely they would see what she was.

Why had she come? Was she searching for hope, for some viable alternative to the desperation that compelled her? For grace? For forgiveness? Perhaps for all those things. But here she was, still alone, so very alone. And the last spark of hope within her was now snuffed.

The preacher had shared a salvation message. He railed against deeds of darkness, against the love of the world, against sexual sin. “Oh, God, could you ever accept someone like me?” she cried out from her heart. The tears came unrestrained. Was it too late for her? If God would not have her, no one would. She would be resigned to accept the emptiness and hopelessness of the life she now had, which was not worth having.

So the girl sat alone and cried. Service had run very long, and people rushed past her to get to class or grab a snack. Some stopped and greeted familiar faces, the girl’s tear-stained face not being among them.

Finally a church leader approached the girl. He could see her agony. He had seen it before. He fancied himself an evangelist, and he was determined to be bold in his witness. The girl must first confront her sin.

“You must repent of your lifestyle,” he said at once. He was certain he had pinpointed the area of her struggle.

The girl, broken and ashamed and frightened, simply said, “I can’t.” What was the rest of her thought? Was it, “I can’t because I lack the courage to abandon everything and everyone I know”? Was it, “I can’t because I’ve always been told I’m worthless and this is the most I can hope for”? Was it, “I can’t because someone might hurt me if I try to break away”? Was it, “I can’t because I’m pregnant and don’t know where or to whom to go”?

The man didn’t ask. The “because” was not relevant. She obviously wasn’t willing to repent. “Then I can’t help you,” he said as he walked away.

The girl would not know the love of the Savior who had first shown grace and compassion before commanding the adulteress to turn from her sin. She would not know the mercy that triumphs over judgment (James 2:13). She would only know judgment.

And the girl sat alone and cried.

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Cheri Henderson is a Christ-follower and freelance writer with a passion for helping other believers embrace the full and abundant, victorious, joy-filled life God intends them to have. The product of a broken and dysfunctional home life, Cheri lost her mother and sister to suicide six months to the day of each other nearly 30 years ago. Using the Bible and the Holy Spirit as her guides, she emerged from her experiences as a wife and mother committed to breaking the chains of sin and addiction in her family tree.A passionate evangelist, discipler and teacher, Cheri has done short-term missions in the United States as well as internationally. Through her blog, http://www.halffullandoverflowing.com, she shares her passion for living sold-out, surrendered lives in Christ. One of Cheri’s favorite verses is Hebrews 7:25, which reads, “Consequently, He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” In her free time, Cheri remains in perpetual motion as a musician, crafter, grandmother, exercise enthusiast and serious home cook.

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