Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Have you read Jesus and the Disinherited by Howard Thurman? It was first published in 1949. It may be an old book, but I prefer to think of it as a classic. It is timeless, refreshing, and challenging.
At the very end of the book, Thurman writes about the biblical story of the woman caught in adultery. In the Bible, the story is recorded in John 8:1-11. Thurman writes:
One day a woman was brought to Jesus. She had been caught in the act of adultery. The spokesman for the group who brought her said she was caught red-handed and that according to the law she should be stoned to death. “What’s your judgment?” was their searching question. To them the woman was not a woman, or even a person, but an adulteress, stripped of her essential dignity and worth. Said Jesus: “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone.” After that, he implied, any person may throw. The quiet words exploded the situation, and in the piercing glare each man saw himself in his literal substance. In that moment each was not a judge of another’s deed, but of his own…
Jesus, always the gentleman, did not look at the woman as she stood before him. Instead, he looked on the ground, busied himself with his thoughts…
One by one the men crept away. The woman alone was left. Hearing no outcry, Jesus raised his eyes and beheld the woman. “Where are your accusers? Has no man condemned you?”
“No man, Lord.”
“Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.”
This is how Jesus demonstrated reverence for personality. He met the woman where she was, and he treated her as if she were already where she now willed to be. In dealing with her he “believed” her into the fulfillment of her possibilities. He stirred her confidence into activity. He placed a crown over her head which for the rest of her life she would keep trying to grow tall enough to wear.
What a great image!
Begin this day knowing Christ is for you, God is with you, and the Holy Spirit lives in you. Grow tall into the truth of what it means to be a child of the living God. And, with this truth bubbling over and spilling out on those you meet today, give others the gift of believing them into the fulfillment of their possibilities, too.
May we all grow tall today, to the glory of God.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
I imagine you’ve had people in your life who stirred your confidence to activity. And, I imagine there have been others, too: people who made you feel insignificant, small, and ashamed. To which people do you give the most attention? To whom will you grant credibility?
Lord, thank you for believing the best for me. Thank you for not holding my sins against me. Give me confidence in your love for me, and help me to believe the best of those I meet today. Amen.
Photo by Christina Hernández on Unsplash.