The night was cold and chilly. She startled in her sleep when she felt the gentle breeze brush on her skin. Her blanket had fallen off exposing her dewy skin to the ice cold chill. As she carefully squirmed in the warmth of the sheets, trying to grasp at the blankets on the floor, she nudged him on his side.
“Damn it girl! Can’t you do one thing right?” she chided herself.
He lazily turned to her side, managed to open his eye and looked at her. “What time is it?”
“I am sorry, the blanket fell off,” she slowly mumbled as she stared at her feet.
“Again?” he asked.
She could sense the agitation in his voice and silently prayed that he would be too tired for a fight. She couldn’t find her voice so all she did was nod her head.
“Pick it up and get back to sleep” he growled, then turned back to his side.
“Oh, that was new,” she thought to herself, no backlash, no bitter exchange of words.
She picked the blanket as swiftly as she could and coiled herself back to sleep, carefully not to disturb him again. Just as she was about to drift off to sleep, she felt it coming…a sneeze was creeping up on her.
“Oh no, this can’t be happening,” she alarmed.
She thought of quietly sneaking out of bed to go to the washroom but how would she maneuver her way without waking him up again? The more she debated on it, the more it kept on building up until she couldn’t hold it back anymore.
“Aaaaaaatttttchhhooooooo!” she loudly sneezed, her whole body shaking with the intensity
There was a stealth silence for a moment before he begrudgingly turned to her side, fully awake and gave her one of his exasperated looks.
“You okay? He asked.
“Uh-huh” she whispered.
“No you’re not. Come here you poor thing. You’re shivering.” He opened his arms and she slid in his warm embrace. He held her tightly as he mumbled an apology for earlier growling at her. All she could do was smile back and snuggle cozily in his warmth. He bent his head towards her, reaching out for her lips as she closed her eyes, waiting to be found.
No sooner as she could feel his warm breath on her skin, his lips brushing against hers, than the door was violently kicked in and a group of men, clad in hoods and army boots, barged in the room, with torches glaring out in the darkness.
“There she is. I told you we would find her,” one of the men bellowed as he pointed his torch in her face.
“Well, well. And who do we have here?” another man walked forward shining the light on her.
Before she could recollect her thoughts, her partner scurried out of bed, grabbed his clothes on the floor and ran past the two men manning the door. The light was too blinding for her so she covered her face with the white sheet but the man wouldn’t have any of it.
“Now she wants to cover her shame” the man laughed out loud as he painfully jerked her arm out of her covering.
“Oh come on, don’t be shy now. Show us what he was enjoying all night.” as the men broke into laughter.
She could feel the heavy stare of the man by her side, ogling at her nakedness, his breathing intensifying with desire as he smacked his lips with relish.
“This can’t be happening,” she thought to herself. “How did they find her? What would they do to her? Please don’t let them hurt me, not again,” and she began to silently sob to herself as she recalled the last time they pinned her down and forced themselves on her amid her cries.
“Take her out” the man at the door ordered him. At once she was thrown out of bed and they dragged her on the cold floor. She pleaded for a chance to wear her robe but her cries fell on deaf ears. All she could grab was the white sheet and hastily wrapped it around her body as they marched her out of the door. So many thoughts were running through her mind and she couldn’t place her finger on what was happening. It felt like a night mare, one she could wake up from but the man’s rough hand bruising her skin jerked her to reality.
The two men walked ahead in hushed tones and as much as she tried, she couldn’t figure out their words. But gathering from the back street alley they were taking her through, she had this fear in the back of her mind of the dread that was awaiting her. Her little strides were no match to their huge steps and she countlessly fell to the ground in the puddles of water, grazing her knees. Her white sheet was stained with mud.
Sadly, the men did not slow down; they mercilessly kicked her and pushed her back on her feet, dragging her to the fate ahead. She cried till she couldn’t cry any more, the cold had pierced her to her core leaving her numb and she couldn’t feel a thing. As dawn was approaching and after walking for almost an hour, they arrived at the gates of the temple.
“Oh no, not the temple courts, not while am in tatters.” She quickly started to put the pieces together, as her fate stood out clearly to her; stoned to death.
The reality of her fate slowly dawned on her and she bitterly broke down in tears. Most of these men who were accusing her knew her intimately, they had shared a night of passion together but now they stood off righteously pointing fingers and tainting her dignity or what was left of it. She knew their secret desires and fetishes, some had hurt her while at it and to think they stood there polished up, distant from her deeds of shame. The more the memories flashed in her mind and she relived the pain they put their through, the more bitterly she wept in her sea of helplessness. Who would dare speak for the silent battles she fought within, the pain that threatened to strangle her day in day out and her only solace was back in the arms of the men who tortured her? Tortured souls who thrived on tortured pleasure.
So buried was she in her thoughts that she didn’t notice she had been dragged into the courts and thrown at the middle where the Master sat.
Her accusers stepped forward and her case unfolded in His presence.
“Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” (John 8:4-7)
Man one: “She has shamed our women by selling her body to the highest bidder.”
Man two: “Cheap whore” (spits on her)
Man three: “Look at her, exposing her nakedness for all to see.”
As they stood there listing her sins for all to hear, she couldn’t help but bow her head in shame and weep bitterly. Hadn’t she pleaded with them to allow her to wear her robe but they denied her the chance. But now they stood here accusing her of the nakedness. Yet nights ago they had paid her to dance and entertain them with the very body they were now shaming.
Man one: “Not only has she sold her body, she’s committed a crime of murder. She’s had an abortion.”
Man two. (Gives him a puzzled look) “One? So that makes it two abortions.”
Man three. “No no no…”
They look at each other and at once realize they’ve played the same game.
All three: “She’s had three abortions. She deserves to die thrice as painful.” They all exclaimed in unison.
The crowd that had gathered all gasped in surprise and now looked at her with pointed fingers, shaming her of her grievous acts. “How could she” they all whispered to each other. ‘Slut’ was all the mumbles she could hear from the crowd. ‘Stone her’ they shouted.
She fell to the ground and broke down uncontrollably. Watching the people she knew call her names, some of whom were her partners in crime but now turned foes was too painful to witness. She decided it was better to turn a blind eye to their angry stares, eyes filled with rage, baying for her blood. She didn’t want to watch who would be the first to stone her.
As they continued chanting for her blood, the memories of her childhood flooded her mind. She recalled the happy times she shared with her dad, daddy’s little girl…and how all that changed when he turned his back on them and choose alcohol and other women. She recalled how his betrayal left her vulnerable, angry, bitter and on a revenge mission out to hurt any man who crossed her path.
How she went looking for her dad in the wallets of the men, looking for his love in their arms. How her missions turned against her because she was the one hurting, broken, lost and now about to be stoned to death by the very people she sort to hurt. The irony of her life dawned on her; she was the prisoner all along. Imprisoned by her past, her rage, her bad choices and how her victim mentality was the death of her.
“If only I could get a second chance. I would turn around. But it’s too late, am too late to change” she thought to herself and cried out more, her white sheet now drenched in her tears.
“Save me” was all her soul could whisper so gently but amidst the chants and shouts of the crowd, who would hear her? It was useless.
All this time the Master was silent. He was bent on the ground, writing with his finger. They questioned him, and drew up more accusations dragging her past out in the open for all to hear, judge and justify their thirst for her blood. But in all these, He was silent.
The more they questioned Him, He straightened up and said to them, “let he who is without sin be the first to cast the stone.” Then He stooped down and continued writing on the ground.
All came to a still and you could hear a pin drop in the sea of silence that enveloped the courts. Everyone went silent. No one moved a muscle. They were like a deer caught in headlights, guilty and trapped. Seconds ago they were all blaring out her sins but now in the stillness of their conscience, their own sins came to light and one by one, they dropped the stones and quietly walked away, heads bowed in shame, guilt wrapping them so tightly they could barely breathe.
In minutes, all her accusers and the crowd at large had dispersed. She was afraid to raise her head up from the ground lest she came face to face with the pointing look of an accuser but when she did, she was left alone with the Master.
Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
“No one, Sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
She couldn’t believe the twist of events that had just unfolded. The accusers who presented her for judgment had ultimately handed her over to her redemption. The Master himself did not condemn her but instead looked at her with such tender love, looking past her shame and pain…seeing her worth beyond the tatters barely hiding her body. He saw the light in her soul; He saw her dignity even when she thought she had none left. He saw the life in abundance she could live and not the one she currently lived in pain and rage and bitterness. He saw her how she never ever thought she was.
And now that was all that mattered. What He saw. What He thought. What He believed. What He knew. What He saved. That was all she needed to see as well; her worth in His eyes. She woke up, dusted herself, bowed down in gratitude and walked away in that revelation.
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus because through Christ Jesus the law of the Sprit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering.
And so He condemned sin in sinful man in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the spirit.”
The message of Easter; of a generation lost in their sins, blinded in the lies of the enemy, readily accused by the devil and of a Savior who left His all to come down and suffer, be shamed, be cursed, be stripped, be crucified all so He could save His people, redeem them, restore them, reconcile them back in the arms of their loving Heavenly Father.
And now we, you and I can walk upright, chins lifted high confident of this truth; we are guilty no more!!
To Christ be the Glory!!