Have you ever wondered what Jesus wrote in the dirt that day when the scribes and Pharisees brought before Him the woman caught in adultery? (John 8:3-11) The Bible tells us that they were testing Jesus. In fact, some versions say they were tricking Him to find accusations against Him. I find Jesus’ response to their tactics so interesting. He didn’t engage with a war of words; He simply stooped down and began to write something with his finger on the ground.
I can’t help but reflect on this story as I consider the war of words, the accusations, and even the trickery we are bombarded with every day. There are real issues to be solved, there are extreme opposing views on how our country should be led and should respond to crisis, and even more importantly, there is a war going on for the souls of countless men and women.
In Matthew 24, Jesus warned His disciples about deception that would be prevalent in the last days. As Christ-followers, we must be alert and aware of the tricks and tactics and allow the Holy Spirit who lives in us to provide much needed discernment for the times we are living in.
Deception often comes with partial truths. That is exactly the way that Satan tried to tempt Jesus in the wilderness. He quoted Scripture when he tempted Jesus to throw Himself down from the pinnacle of the temple! (Matthew 4:1-11)
This is the kind of deception that is so prevalent today. We hear partial truths in reporting that strikes fear and sells agendas and programing. We are bombarded with partial truths about key issues, candidates, positions, and parties that has the sole purpose of destruction and trickery to deceive many to support plans that individuals otherwise would never uphold.
What is the solution? It certainly is not simple, but if you are a Christian, you find sound instruction in the Word of God. The book of James gives some practical and spiritual advice we could all use in the days we are living through.
- “DO NOT BE DECEIVED!” (James 1:16) Ask God to give you His discernment! Study the truth of God’s Word and you will be more likely to identify the lie when it comes deceptively. Pray that He will give you supernatural help to discern the truth from lies.
From a practical standpoint, can I suggest that you be INCREDIBLY careful with what you share, and what you use to form your opinions unless you fact check and know the full story. I have heard misinformation about critical topics that were appalling to my beliefs, only to later find out they were not factual. I do not want to participate in spreading partial truths, which are really lies!
- “BE SWIFT TO HEAR AND SLOW TO SPEAK!” (James 1:19) Isn’t that what Jesus did when He stooped down to write on the ground? He did not avoid the situation, He did eventually respond to the accusers, but this moment in between when he quietly responds with this unusual action is so powerful to me.
As believers, we are not to be silent, but when we speak, let our words be profound all while demonstrating the fruit of the Spirit. There was a time during Jesus’ earthly ministry where He was driven to action. You can read the story in John 2:14-17 NASU
And He found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. And He made a scourge of cords, and drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables; and to those who were selling the doves He said, “Take these things away; stop making My Father’s house a place of business.” His disciples remembered that it was written, “ZEAL FOR YOUR HOUSE WILL CONSUME ME.”
Even though Jesus demonstrated action related to His passion for the House of God, He took time to respond appropriately. I can just envision Him sitting down and weaving together the whip that He would use to express His displeasure with their actions. He was not reacting – He was responding!
- GUARD AGAINST PREJUDICE AND JUDGEMENT! (James 2:4) Believers cannot love their neighbors as themselves and show partiality. We are called to love the sinner but hate the sin. The fight is not with human beings it is against the powers and principalities of darkness! (Ephesians 6:12)
- TAME YOUR TONGUE! (James 3:5-10) This passage tells us the tongue can be an unruly evil and a deadly poison. As a Child of God, we should be speaking blessings instead of curses.
- BE PATIENT AND EXPECTANT AS YOU WAIT FOR THE RETURN OF THE LORD! (James 5:7) This last chapter of James is full of pearls of wisdom to guide us through behaviors and actions we should be focused on as we get closer and closer to the return of the Lord.
- Don’t grumble against one another. (verse 9)
- Use the examples of the prophets of old as they demonstrated endurance even during times of great suffering. (verse 10)
- Pray and praise! (verse 13)
Let me close with the end of this amazing book of the Bible as interpreted by The Passion Translation:
Finally, as members of God’s beloved family, we must go after the one who wanders from the truth and bring him back. For the one who restores the sinning believer back to God from the error of his way, gives back to his soul life from the dead, and covers over countless sins by their demonstration of love! (James 5:19-20 TPT)
Isn’t this what Jesus did in the story we began with. We don’t know what He wrote on the ground, we do know that all her accusers walked away and when she was left with the one who loved her enough to see past her sin, He left her with important instructions, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” (John 8:11)