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Naked and Afraid

“Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery.  The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” (John 8:4-5)  

As I read  through God’s Word, I cannot imagine a moment when anyone could have felt more vulnerable than this woman right here.  The teachers of religious law and the Pharisee brought a woman who had been caught in the very midst of her sin. She had no defense and no defender.  She was guilty.  They knew it, she knew it and Jesus knew it. 

They threw her down before Jesus and in front of the crowd he was teaching.  I’ve heard it taught that she was most likely naked…at best scantily clad.  Everything she would want hidden was now publicly exposed.   Can you close your eyes and see her?  Embarrassed, ashamed, afraid. Crying, perhaps trying to cover herself, wondering if this would be her last living act?   Any shred of dignity she had possibly previously held onto stripped from her viciously and mercy to be found.  Bracing perhaps for the death the law clearly stated she deserved.  

Jesus didn’t argue with them.   In His wisdom He instead invited the one who had never sinned to throw the first stone. The Bible tells us that each of the accusers walked away, starting with the oldest.  I find it interesting that the oldest were the first to walk away…perhaps their years offered a level of clarity and insight the younger had not yet attained.  After the accusers had walked away,  Jesus stood up in the middle of the crowd and asked the woman a question “Where are your accusers?  Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”  

“No, Lord,”  she replied.  

In response he said, “Neither do I.  Go and sin no more.”  

Vulnerability and struggle have been synonyms in my world.  For far too long I stayed hidden in plain sight.  I shared with the world what I wanted them to see.  I presented a facade of vulnerability by sharing struggles from my past, but current struggles…not so much. 

I was afraid to be vulnerable because it had been at my most vulnerable that I had been so deeply wounded.  Somewhere along the way I made an inner vow that I would keep myself safe by never risking abandonment or rejection by being completely exposed…naked if you will…again.  I was not willing to risk being fully known.

Here’s the problem.  Until you are loved at your most vulnerable, naked and sacred places… you do not truly know love.  Love you must work to get is love you must work to keep.  But to be loved when you are your most unlovely?  To be completely seen, known and loved in the very midst of your sin?  The cost of this type of love is vulnerability.  When you are at a place of having absolutely  nothing to offer and you are still loved…that is to know love in its fullness.

Like this woman in John, there was a time in my own life where what was hidden became exposed.  Embarrassed, ashamed and afraid I stood before my accusers, the crowd and Jesus.  

In His love, and by His love working through others it was this very vulnerability that set me free.  

And He said to me, “Neither do condemn you, Go and sin no more.”  

He then surrounded me with a group of women who embraced me at my most vulnerable place and loved me fully and deeply with the love of Christ.  They were women that were both pretty and wise.  

I pray for you today that you will find the courage to be vulnerable so that you too can know the fullness of love.  It’s worth it.  I promise.  

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