Take a moment and look at any social media platform, and what you’ll find is something that is ancient and insidious: the labeling and categorizing of people. The devil thrives when he is dividing humanity. He is out to break relationships, and the primary way he does this is through labeling and categorizing. He gets us to look down on other people and put them in a class below us. The only thing that results from this is more darkness. Darkness releases blame and condemnation. It helps no one.
Jesus revealed Himself as the Light of the World in the midst of religious leaders accusing or labeling a woman caught in adultery. The word “accuse” means to categorize or label. The leaders of His day were setting a trap, but Jesus acted as if didn’t hear them. He wasn’t going to label her. He wasn’t going to break the relationship. These leaders weren’t going to let him off easy. They forced Him to respond. They badgered Him and things got heated. The woman shook for fear of her life. She was going to die. They were ready to stone her as she sat there naked in a sheet.
Still, Jesus didn’t play along. In fact, He flipped the game on them. With great love and even respect, He keeps his eyes low and says that the sinless man should do the stoning. In the Greek, what Jesus said was very specific. He said that those that had not committed this sin—the sin of adultery—should stone her first.
Silence. Then the stones started dropping. One by one they all walked away until Jesus was alone with the woman. He had chased away the condemners. At that moment, the Light of the World, Jesus, removed the shame and pain. He took the power of condemnation from her and then told her to live a life that would not allow the shame to come back. He freed her first and then gave her the power to live free. He showed her that, as the Light of the World, the kingdom of God is a kingdom of Grace and the ability to live free from sin.
When people are labeled, it releases condemnation into their lives. Condemnation is the voice of darkness and exists in the realm of judgment. The hearts of judgmental people are full of darkness. The light of God’s Grace forgives sins and empowers us to live without sin. The power of God’s forgiveness is far greater than man’s sin and his darkness.