The Patrolling Pharisaical Policeman popped into my mailbox just recently dropping off his report of what he had searched and searched and sought for until he finally found the sin that had him elated with delight and soaring from his find. Yet under the guise of "great concern" he wrote to me and tattle-taled in order to expose and tell and show what someone very dear and close to me had done, while he looked down his pious nose at the sin that he'd found them in.
So that you'll better understand and can make more sense of my response back to him I'll tell you what it was that he was tattling on them to me about. He sent me a website of a girl that I love like crazy, that just happens to be caught up in the tangled web and trap of an ugly sin… and the pictures and pages and writings and blogs and comments on her website shows it. So, when this stalker found the stink and proof of my friend's sin, he shot me an email telling me about it while also sharing the address of her site, hoping that I'd dive in as he had done, basking in her evil, then blasting her for it to all that don't know.
Needless to say, it made me sick. I was already aware of her site, another someone else had already readily told me. Instead of checking the site and going where he did, I wrote him back instead. (Note: the names were changed both to protect the innocent… and the not so innocent.) Here's the note that I sent him:
Dear Mr. X,
I already know about Caught's webpage. But did I go and check it out as you did like you told me to? Do I constantly keep my eye fixed upon it?... consistently checking back to see what next new thing she adds?... who says what?... what she’s said?... what provoking pictures she’s added? Do I stroll through her bed of sin to see what else she's done?... to see how repulsive she is? Do I open her closet and feel I have a right to go through it?.... picking through her things in her darkness while she doesn't even know that I'm there?
What right would I have to do that when I, too, once lived in the dark of my own sin? And if not for Grace, would live there still? The ones that need to know already knows. Yet, what can they do? Though they've tried to stop her, you can't stop someone from their sin. Only Jesus Alone has the power to stop and to change them. And if you’ll remember,
- God Himself left His precious sinless man and woman in a perfect garden in a sinless world to choose for themselves whether to do right or not.
- Paul? Paul told the Corinthians about the man that was sleeping with his father's wife to "hand this man over to Satan, SO THAT his sinful nature MAY BE destroyed and his spirit SAVED on the day of the Lord."
- The father of the prodigal son? He gave his son his inheritance early and allowed him to leave when he asked.
There are countless examples of this in the Bible. Let me just share one or two of them with you.
- Judges 4 tells us that "After Ehud died, the Israelites once again did evil in the eyes of the Lord. SO the Lord sold them into the hands of Jabin... (and) BECAUSE Jabin had.. cruelly oppressed the Israelites FOR TWENTY YEARS, they CRIED to the Lord for HELP." Then because of their cry from their oppression, God runs to rescue.
- In 2 Samuel 14:14, God says that He "doesn't take our lives. Instead, He figures out ways of bringing us back when we run away" (CEV). The NIV words it this way, "God does not take away life; instead, He devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from Him." He's constantly devising ways to bring His wayward sons back again from the places that they've left Him for.
- And Job 33:29-30 says that, "God does all these things to a man - twice, even three times - to turn back his soul from the pit."
All the while that we whirl in our sin God is working on ways of wooing us back to Him. He sometimes lifts His hands and turns us over completely to the enemy..... so that we will become so miserable in our sin that we cry out to Him in our oppression. So, all the while that “Caught” seeks to find love in all the wrong places, Love seeks to find her.... for Jesus is a Shepherd that leaves the ninety-nine to go look for His lost one. She is in His eye and His heart, and He alone knows how to save her. He seeks to find… in order to cover her when He does… not to expose her by voicing what He’s seen to another. And He knows too of all of the places that she will have to go before she hits bottom enough to cry out to Him Alone, so that He can lift her out of the pit that she's leapt into and buried herself in.
1st Corinthians tells us that "Love is patient" and 2 Peter 3:9 says that "He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." I can't even imagine the love that God has in His heart as He looks at her.... all the while wanting one of His children to help her…. not look at her in her sin…. and surely not talking behind her back about what they’ve seen of her to another!
I want you to know that I'm not trying to preach to you. I just feel like as Christ's people, we have so much to learn. We're blinded to so many things. Our hearts are cold, when we think they're warm. They're hardened to things, while we believe they're tender. One thing that God has been working on and is teaching me is about "mercy." And mercy doesn't shun nor shame.... but mercy runs! It runs to help. It runs to rescue. It runs in hopes to save. Mercy covers! Mercy never exposes a girl's nakedness to others, but instead takes the naked to Jesus, and cries out to Jesus for the one that can't cry due to their drunkened stupor that has intoxicated and influenced and induced them to sin. Mercy takes the one to Jesus so that Jesus Himself might cover them!
Listen to these verses:
"Noah... became drunk
and lay uncovered inside his tent.
his father's nakedness
his two brothers outside.
Shem and Japheth TOOK A GARMENT
and laid it across their shoulders;
they walked BACKWARD
their father's nakedness.
Their faces were
TURNED THE OTHER WAY
SO THAT THEY WOULD
Ham saw his father’s nakedness and TOLD(!)… while his bothers turned the other way so that they would not see… and after taking a garment and putting it on their shoulders, they walked backward and covered him where he lay. Ham and his descendants were cursed because of what he had done; while Shem and Japheth were blessed for what they did. But who are we when we find one “naked” from their drunkenness? Do we tell as Ham told? Or rather cover WITHOUT LOOKING as his brothers did?
"Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph,
but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit.
BECAUSE Joseph.. was a righteous man
and DID NOT WANT TO EXPOSE her to public disgrace,
he had in mind
to divorce her
It was Joseph's want to keep Mary covered, not his want to expose her to shame, that showed him righteous. But again, what do we do? Do we handle the matter “quietly” so as not to expose and disgrace? Or, are we more prone to be the one that exposes their sin so that the public will know?
How about this one?
"... The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman CAUGHT in adultery.
They MADE HER STAND BEFORE THE GROUP
and SAID to Jesus,
"Teacher, THIS WOMAN WAS CAUGHT IN THE ACT of adultery.
In the Law Moses commanded US TO STONE SUCH a woman.
Now what do You say?""
[Notice that Jesus doesn't 'say' any thing! I feel that He was heart sick instead and it left Him silent, so He bent over just writing in the sand in hopes to silence them.].....
"When they KEPT ON questioning Him, He straightened up and said,
"If any one of you
is without sin,
let him be the first
to throw a stone
"...love each other DEEPLY,"
1 Pet 4:8 tells us,
"because love COVERS
a multitude of sins"
"He who covers an offense prompts love..."
"Brothers, if someone is CAUGHT in sin,
YOU who are spiritual
SHOULD restore him gently.
But WATCH YOURSELVES,
or you also
may be tempted.
So, if you think
you are standing firm,
that you don't fall."
Gal 6:1; 1 Cor 10:12
"As for you,
dead in your transgressions and sins,
in which you used to live
followed the ways of this world and the ruler of the kingdom of the air,
the spirit that is now at work in those who are disobedient.
All of us also lived among them at one time,
gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature
and following its desires
Like the rest,
by nature objects of wrath.
of His great love for us,
Who is rich in Mercy,
made us alive in Christ
we were dead in transgressions -
it is by grace
have been saved.
God raised us up with Christ
and seats us with Him...
IN ORDER THAT
He might show the incomparable riches of His grace,
His kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
For it is by grace
you have been saved,
through faith -
and this not from yourselves,
it is the gift of God -
not by works,
so that no one can boast.
are God's workmanship,
created in Christ Jesus to do good works,
which God prepared in advance
for us to do."
Could the "sin" that we see in another's life be part of the work that He's called us to? Could that be one of the things that was 'prepared in advance' for us to do? His love inside us showing through? In efforts to save the sinner? For if not for His Grace - we wouldn't be saved! If Mercy had not come running to us in our cry - we would still be dead in our sin. If not for Love - we would still be living among them... still living like what we once were... still gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature, still following its desires, and still heeding to its thoughts and its evil demands.
Let me ask you a question: What if every "Christ-like" person you knew was repulsed by who you were and what you did? What if every "Christ-like" person you knew saw you as nasty? sin-FULL? dirty? raunchy? and bad? What if every "Christ-like" person you knew looked down their pious noses toward you.... even though they said that they didn't? What if every "Christ-like" person you knew, that had "caught" you in your sin, took your sin and exposed it to other "Christ-like" people, but never took you to Jesus..... like those Pharisees who had "caught" the woman "in the very act of adultery"......... and instead of them taking her in private to Jesus they took her before the crowd instead to tell of all she had done asking Jesus if they shouldn't stone her?
Have the ones that shared the sin of this sinner (Caught) with you (that you shared with me) even bothered to take her to Jesus? They've talked about her to you… but have they talked about her to Him? Have they carried her to Jesus? Have they taken her to our Father? Is every “Christ-like” person she knows not Christ-like at all when it comes down to it in reality?
And then: What will you do with her? Who have you told? Who will you tell? And why did you bother to look? And then, why will you look again??? Could you not had rather (like Shem and Japheth) found something to cover her and cover your own eyes with, then walked backward "so that you would not see" her nakedness when you first realized that there might be a glimpse? Or, might you have (while you observed the one that was Caught) got caught in a trap yourself while never seeing your sin? Called gawking and stalking and talking maybe? Continuing to look long past what you should have? Should you have even bothered to look in the first place when told? And then, should you have told yourself?
"If someone is CAUGHT in sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall." What business is it of ours to ever look upon another's naked? And what business is it of ours to talk (to cast the first stone)? Are we blinded to our own sins while we beat our breasts when we pray and tell our Father "I'm so glad that I'm not like" him? (Luke 18:9-14)
The Pharisees and the teachers of the law complained to Jesus' disciples, 'Why do you eat with sinners?' they asked Him. And Jesus answered them back, 'I came to call sinners to repentance, not to call the righteous. It's the sick that need a doctor, not the healthy.'
"It is not the healthy who need a doctor,
but the sick.
But go and learn what this means,
'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.'
For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
He came to heal the sick!
But we shun the sick and shame the sick by exposing their sin-sickness......... while rarely (if ever) taking the sick to Jesus, the Great Physician. While rarely (if ever) showing them mercy… all the while deceiving ourselves into believing that somehow we have!
Wouldn't you think that that's why we run into the sinful man in the first place??? So that we might LIFT the robbed man that was beaten and striped and left on the side of the road for dead…. so that we might kneel in efforts to help him there, then lift to load him upon our donkey, and then take him to the "inn" for Jesus to clean and to dress and to balm his wounds in hopes to heal him? I think more often than not, that we are guiltier than anything else of just passing him by. Oh, but sometimes we do stop and we 'lift' the robbed man lying there, and we do load and carry him with us on our 'donkey'........... BUT NOT TO JESUS! We don't take him to Jesus! Instead we carry him to other 'Christian’ people instead…. we take him before our "group", so that we can sit together and shake our heads in 'great concern' for this sinner.................... Never ever ever even thinking of (forgetting completely) to take the man to Jesus!!! Where in scripture are we ever told to take the sinner to another?
WHEN was the last time you prayed for someone you caught in the very act of their sin?
WHEN was the last time you didn’t tell a soul except to plead with the Savior to help them?
WHEN was the last time you showed mercy as you have been shown?
WHEN was the last time you ‘judged not’…. because you knew that you too once wore their shoes?
WHEN was the last time you were MOVED with compassion and wept for the one you saw and begged your Jesus to cover and heal them?
WHEN was the last time you allowed God to use you to COVER another?
"When they came to the crowd,
a man approached Jesus
and knelt before Him.
"Lord, have MERCY on my son,"
"He has seizures and is suffering greatly.
He often falls into the fire
or into the water.
I brought him to Your disciples,
but they could not heal him."
"... Jesus replied,..
"Bring the boy here
Jesus rebuked the demon,
and it came out of the boy,
and he was healed from that moment.
Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked,
"Why couldn't we
drive it out?"
"Because you have so little faith."
He tells us that the prayers of a righteous man availeth much! I don't think we have an inkling of how power-FULL and effective our prayers are!........... even to drive out the demons in the demon-possessed, to heal the leper sick in his sin, to open the eyes of the blind man that can't see and so walks in his darkness! "Why couldn't we" help save the man? "Why couldn't we?" I believe with all of my heart that it’s mostly because we don't take them to Jesus!!!! Not that we don’t have the faith to… but instead, because we fail to even think to! How many opportunities have been set before us? How many times could someone say of us, "I brought him to Your disciples, but they could not heal him"? Are we into talking to each other about the sins of the sinner, more than we talk about them to our Lord and our Savior? How many people, I wonder, do we take to another that Jesus wishes that we would take to Him? Who, in your world, would He like to say to you, “Bring him (her) to Me”… that we instead take to our friends???
We admire Jesus for touching the leper to heal him. We’re enamored and in awe at Jesus having such mercy on the adulterous woman. We're overwhelmed by His words spoken to those that crowded around Him to stone her, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." We love that Jesus would take the time to cross to the other side of the lake just to get to the demon-possessed man who had "not worn clothes" for a long time, who lived in the tombs because he had been driven by the demons to go to solitary places, and who cried out day and night while cutting himself with stones. But do we really do as Jesus did?
Do we "touch" the leper? Do we tell the crowd that cheers to stone the one they caught, "You, too, were once in sin…We have no right to stone another." Do you carry and cry out to Jesus for the one that you ‘saw’…. the one that tries to find "life" in the tombs……..... but she only finds herself in lonely solitary places, cutting herself and tearing her clothes off in her misery................ because she's "caught"… and she’s stuck and held captive and imprisoned to her sin? She’s found naked because of the drunken stupor she’s in. She can't rid herself of the demons......... and today NO ONE cares to cross over to the other side to save her. Of all the ‘skins’ that Jesus now lives in…. NO ONE cares to cross over to the other side to save her! They see her (even sometimes when they shouldn’t be looking!!!)… but they see her, then tell another ‘skin’ that Jesus lives in about her so that they see her too….. and NO ONE takes her up and lifts her up in prayer to Jesus! And they think they’re righteous, while Jesus longs for someone He lives in to do something about her!
Who do we have to thank that carried us (in prayer) in our sin 'sickness' to the Great Physician for healing... all the while we were oblivious that anyone was carrying us there? Our moms? Our dads? Our grandparents? Christ-like Spirit moved people? And who will carry this sinner (Caught) that’s found caught in her sin that you see? Does she have anyone to carry her to Jesus? Does everyone pass her by? What if she doesn't have a mom that’ll carry her there? Or a dad that will? And what if all the 'Christ-like' people she knows are too busy gawking and talking among their 'group' about her sin rather than to pray for her to be healed from her sin?
Will anybody pray for her?
Will anybody pray?
What waters did Jesus cross over to save you from the demons within your own self… that had you stripping off your clothes; cutting yourself; making you run to solitary, lonely, and secret places; while you tried to 'live' and find life in the tombs like she is? And WHO prayed to ask Jesus to go there to save you? Where are His people? Where are His people who pray? We are His people! We're called to pray. Called to rescue. Called to save. Called to have mercy. Called to take sinners to Jesus!
"It is not the healthy who need a doctor [Jesus said],
but the sick.
Go and learn what this means,
'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.'
For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
Matt 9:12,13/Matt 12:7/Hos 6:6/Prov 21:3
If someone has cancer, we don't dog him to others because of his sickness. We don't look down upon him. He doesn't repulse. But our hearts are touched and tendered and we pray! We really do take him to Jesus. But what about the cancerous-sin, that poisons inside the soul and sentences to an eternal death? Who will pray for that robbed man?.... beaten and left for dead on the side of the road????
Mercy comes running. Yet what do I do with the sinful man? If I bother to lift him at all to put him upon my donkey, who is it that I will take him to? to man that talks? or to Jesus Who walks on water to cross over to the other side to save him?
Will any one bend their knees, and bow their heads, and cry for the Caughts? For the ones that gets kicked even more as they go… while she watches the 'religious' pass her on by all the while dogging her for what all that she's done? If we are found guilty of talking to others about a sinful man more than we talk to Jesus about him............ then I wonder what Jesus will have to say about us? or perhaps rather write in the sand?
Job 33:23-28 tells us:
"Yet if there is an angel on (her) side
as a mediator,
one out of a thousand,
to tell a man what is right for him,
to be gracious to him and say,
'Spare him from going down to the pit;
I have found a ransom for Him' -
then his flesh is renewed like a child's;
it is restored as in the days of youth.
He prays to God and find favor with him,
he sees God's face and shouts for joy;
he is restored by God to his righteous state.
Then he comes to men and says,
'I sinned, and perverted what was right,
but I did not get what I deserved.
He redeemed my soul from going down to the pit,
and I will live to enjoy the light.'"
Can we not be a "mediator"? One who stands in the gap? One who intercedes? One who pleads? Isn't that what we're called for? Jesus said, "Bring the boy to Me;" but do we really? We know the One that ransoms, but do we bother to tell it?
Surely you've heard Casting Crown's song If We Are The Body. See the words to it here and see it as Caught:
If We Are The Body
It's crowded in worship today
As she slips in trying to fade into the faces
The girl's teasing laughter is carrying farther than they know
Farther than they know
But if we are the body
Why aren't His arms reaching?
Why aren't His hands healing?
Why aren't His words teaching?
And if we are the body
Why aren't His feet going?
Why is His love not showing them there is a way?
There is a way
A traveler is far away from home
He sheds his coat and quietly sinks into the back row
The weight of their judgmental glances
Tells him that his chances are better out on the road
But if we are the body, why aren't we....
Jesus paid much too high a price
For us to pick and choose who should come
And we are the body of Christ.
Why do we often talk about the one caught, more than we pray? Oh, at the damage a tongue and its words can do! Why is it that once our tongues start wagging the juices fill it with enough fuel to run to all the tos and fros of the whole earth and back? We bask in the swim! Sing in the stew! Shout from the rooftops! It's a drunken stupor all its own and we get caught up under its influence which has us seared from any concern of what it might do to another. What is that? Woe, at such an evil!
We maim... wound... pierce... sever... cripple... deafen... blind... harden... embitter... enrage... imprison... with our words! Then we wonder at why they don't turn and why they do what they do. Jesus said, "Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come!" The Caughts that we've found in her sin; do we help her, or help in hindering her, or help harden her in it? Are we guilty of being a one that causes another to sin? Woe, to the man that is!
The question boils down to this: Do we love? For love sees beneath the sin and seeks to help the soul. I've thought so much about God's GOoDness lately and His love. For: Love is patient, because He is Love and it is! Love doesn't hurry, but waits because it has hope! Love is Kind, and Kind wants us to be! Love does not envy, because we shall "not want," for He is sufficient for all of our needs, our PRO-vider pro-vides and does not leave us lacking! Love does not boast, because Love is not pride-full and does not puff up. Love is not rude, because Love cares! Love is not self-seeking, but instead seeks to help another. Love is not easily angered, because Love sees the heart and knows the hurt or sorrow and longs to tend to it. Love keeps no record or wrongs, because He washes whiter than snow! Love does not delight in evil, but grieves for the darkness and rejoices with the truth that gives light that sets men free. Love always protects, and under the wings of His feathers we can find refuge! Love always trusts, because we can lean and rely on Love, it's a safe haven, a place of perfect peace and rest. Love hopes................... anxiously anticipates!!!!! Love perseveres.............. and shows His character which proves to be true! Love NEVER fails! People do..... but Love never does! And Love wants us to love! Love wants to LOVE in and through us! Love IS! Yet where is our love?
Back to that passage in Job 33, the one that says, "Yet if there is an angel on (her) side as a mediator, one out of a thousand, to tell (her) what is right for (her), to be gracious to (her) and say, 'Spare (her) from going down to the pit; I have found a ransom for (her)' - then (her) flesh is renewed like a child's; it is restored as in the days of youth. (She) prays to God and finds favor with Him, (she) sees God's face and shouts for joy; (she) is restored by God to (her) righteous state. Then (she) comes to men and says, 'I sinned, and perverted what was right, but I did not get what I deserved. He redeemed my soul from going down to the pit, and I will live to enjoy the light.'" Can you even imagine if we actually lived in the mentality of being the 'angel' beside her? One who comes as a mediator? One out of thousands that passed her by? To tell her what is right for her? To be gracious to her and to pray asking God for His help? Having the urge to run to cry out for our Him to "spare" her from where she's fallen into her pit.... because we have found a ransom for her! "God, save this soul, I've found a ransom for this one that's lost. I know the One Who can pay the ransom, It's Your Son, Lord God. Jesus! It's Your Son!" Or even yelling to the one inside her pit while she's caught there, "Hey, you're gonna be okay. I found a ransom for you! I've gone to get Him now! Hang on! He's able to save! Hang on, He can reach you there!" Doing all this so that she can see the Ransom that came and her soul can be made whole and be saved... With her finally finding the favor of her King... Seeing God's face and shouting for joy, because she's been restored to her righteous state... And then seeing her go to all that God allows her voice to reach telling them, "I sinned. I perverted what was right. But I did not get what I deserved. HE REDEEMED MY SOUL and I will live to enjoy the light."
Is that not the hope that we should have for the fallen? Are we so blind that we cannot see? How horrid! What all am I blind to that's made me mean? and that's hardened my heart to the one in the dark? Why am I repulsed by her? Why want to shy away from her? Why talk about her? And dog her, when I've been where she's been? Why is it so easy to encourage the "righteous" and roll my eyes at the "sick?" I want mercy to come running to me, so then why won't I also "be" the mercy that runs?
What do you do with your Caughts? Will you pass them by? Or load and carry them on your donkey? Once loaded though, who will you carry them to? Where is your love? Do you love to share their sinful stories or seek to save their souls?
Come, let's go together... grab a load and lets take Caught to Jesus. For "Bring the boy (the girl) to Me," He said... And "as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for (her). And teach(ing her) the way that is good and right” (1 Sam 12:23).