Perhaps one of the greatest questions we can ask ourselves as believers is how we should respond to others. In doing so, we are given the opportunity to reflect the heart of God to an unbelieving world seeking after answers.
Jesus, while he was God in the flesh, used every opportunity to reflect the heart of God towards others. In one particular Scripture (John 8) Jesus is outside of the Temple holding a Bible study when he is encountered by a mob of angry legalists who desire to end the life of a woman caught in adultery. It is here where Jesus reveals just how God responds to us and how we are called to respond to others as we walk in the light.
“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
1] Respond with Love.
The teachers of the law caught a woman in the act of adultery. What do you do when you find someone in sin? When we walk in the light, we don’t expose their darkness for dark purposes. The teachers of the law made the woman stand before the group in hopes of punishing her and trapping Jesus. When we find someone in the act of sin, we confront the sin in hopes of exposing the person to the light. In love, we have to address the sin with the person to show them how their actions offend God. In Matthew 18:15 it says, “”If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.” As followers of the light, we can bring light even into the darkest of situations by the way we handle it.
2] Respond with Grace.
The teachers of the law announced this woman’s sin publicly. They made her stand before the group as they explained her wrongdoing to everyone. Can you imagine the shame, the fear, and the guilt she experienced? When we know about the darkness in a person’s life do we humiliate, shun, and embarrass them? Followers of the light do not. We have to address their sin, but taking it to the crowd is definitely not a way to win them over to follow Christ. Followers of Christ have to be mindful of our response when people’s darkness is announced to us. Do we sit and listen? Do we laugh? Do we criticize? Do we marginalize? Do we gossip about it with others? What did Jesus do? He reminded the crowd, as we should, that only the perfect ones among us have room to condemn. I love how He says it in Matthew 7:5, “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Strong words of warning for us. We must be careful of how we respond to reports of wrong doing.
3] Respond with Faith.
Reminding someone of their darkness will not draw them closer to Christ. Sharing the truth about the power of the light will encourage them to turn away from the darkness of sin. Jesus did not condemn the woman or the teachers of the law. His actions gave room for the Holy Spirit to convict each of their hearts. The accusers put down the stones and walked away. The woman was given directions to leave her life of sin. In that moment, Jesus spoke these words to the people, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Every sinner can walk away from darkness and have light.
Before we expose a secret sin of someone else’s, or participate in gossip, or remind a believer how they used to be pause and allow the light of life to remind you of the day when you turned from darkness to light.
Have you been responding to sin in a way that draws people closer to Christ, or pushes them farther away? Have you leaned more toward condemnation or have you prayed for conviction. Ask God to show you how to respond in a way that allows Him to shine when you are confronted with darkness.
Jesus is Our Light| Written by Tesha Fritzgerald
Be sure to check out Tesha’s blog @ www.kickhellout.com/blog