When I saw her next I could barely be cordial, wanting instead to lash out in judgment.
It took a few words with another to change my mind. My eyes were pointed back to Christ and what would honor Him. Christ himself, would not condemn her, but instead show compassion and love.
When I saw evil and filthiness I should have seen a broken young woman. I should have seen the pain. When I wanted to lash out at her I should have spoken words of love.
It reminds me of the woman caught in adultery in John chapter 8. The scribes and Pharisees brought this woman to Jesus and were ready to stone her for her sin. They wanted to throw rocks at her until he she died!
Jesus said, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone a her."
One by one, each man realized that they were not qualified to judge and condemn this woman. One by one they turned and left. If it takes someone perfect to judge, is there really anyone qualified other than God himself?
Does Jesus judge? He said in John 8, "Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man." So he tells the adulteress woman, "Neither do I condemn thee: go and sin no more." He didn't accept her sin. He recognized that she was guilty but he didn't pronounce a sentence on her. He urged her to quit her sin.
"For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through him might be saved." John 3:17
I was definitely humbled when I learned what God was trying to show me. Here I was sitting in proud judgment, stone in hand, ready for some sort of condemnation to fall on a broken young woman, taken in sin. But Jesus says, "He that is without sin among you, let him first a cast a stone at her." Oh boy.
You want to know what Jesus wants us to do in these situations?
"Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
Judge not, and ye shall not be judged:
Condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned:
forgive, and ye shall be forgiven."
I'm not saying there is no judgment but what I am saying is that judgment belongs to God. I'm a flesh and bone human being. I'm finite. I'm imperfect. I can't see to the heart of a person like God can. When God judges it is not based on what He sees. He doesn't reprove based on what He hears. This is all I would have to go on. God, in His righteousness and perfection is fit to judge. I am not.
My heart has been softened. It doesn't mean that I accept the awful things that have gone on or the lifestyle that others have chosen. It means that I love people with a love beyond what I am capable of.
I love how God works. He let me see that I was in the wrong. He drew my heart and eyes back on Him. Then He allowed me to see the lesson in action.
I was sitting in a waiting room, in the back, in a corner because that's how I roll. There was a young woman with a brand new baby boy sitting there. I later learned that he was just two weeks old!
Another young woman came and sat in the room, nearer to the young mother. They shared some small talk. The young mother gave the young woman an invitation to her church. The young woman admitted that she is a drug addict, clean for just two weeks now and that this invitation comes at a perfect time for her. The young mother encouraged her saying that she, too, had been an addict and those first two weeks were the hardest.
And I sat in the corner of that waiting room watching what God's love looks like in action. And I didn't miss the beautiful poetry in that the young mother's baby and the young woman's sobriety were the same age.
God works amazing things. God can heal the worst situations. And in the midst of all of this He takes the time to teach me a lesson.