T-Shirts and Mercy

This post goes a bit beyond the scope of some of the safer things that I normally talk about on this blog.


I was working out at IMPE on the U of I campus yesterday and the back of a sorority girl's t-shirt caught my eye:
“You haven’t done anything until you’ve done a Phi.”


Hmmm. What kind of response is that type of message supposed to elicit? I don't need to tell you what most guys are going to think of when they read that. Confession: My mind immediately began to judge her. "Who wears a shirt like that?" I thought. "Why not just post your phone number and the words 'I'm easy?'"

But then my mind went to another place. I remembered the life of Jesus and how he interacted with a woman once, who had literally been caught in the act of adultery. Here's the story, from the Gospel of John. It speaks for itself.

Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.

“Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”

They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.

When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”

“No, Lord,” she said.

And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”


I have a lot to learn from Jesus. His forgiveness, the degree to which he could extend unheard of mercy, his compassion--it's quite incredible. And on top of that, he really, in a sense, had faith in the woman. He believed that she could actually go and sin no more. Why else would he have said it? Now, I am sure that she fell into sin time and again in her life, but she knew that there was a God would would forgive her and show mercy, rather than condemn her.

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