A Love That is Life Altering

By Rachel Britton

Photo by Emily Fletke  @fletkefoto

Photo by Emily Fletke @fletkefoto

The grey early morning air clung to her like a cold glove. She shivered in her flimsy gown. Fear of what lay ahead added to her misery.

Her arms still tingled where their hands had gripped her; bruises welled up where fingers dug in as they dragged her from the bed. “Is this your husband?” they snarled accusingly, pointing to the startled man beside her who moments before enveloped her in his arms. She lowered her eyes.

Now frosty stares of strangers in the courtyard penetrated her body. She could hear them whispering. Some sniggered. Others made comments: “Disgusting.” “How could she? He’s a good man.”

She looked towards the group of religious leaders. They were the ones who dragged her there. They argued loudly with a man.

Suddenly that man stood beside her. She felt warmth from his body as his arm brushed against her bruises. She heard him inhaling and exhaling deeply, as if controlling anger. An unusual feeling of calm — that it’s going to be alright — came over her.

He spoke. ”If you’re perfect, have never done anything wrong, go ahead and throw the first stone.”

Panic grabbed her throat, clenching tightly like a vice around her neck. She couldn’t breathe. She covered her face with her hands and crouched on the ground, and waited for the pain of rock on flesh.

Nothing.

Silence.

Was no one there except the one who stood beside her?

Then, shuffling and the occasional thud.

A hand rested on her shoulder. Her body relaxed and air filled her lungs. Breath warmed her cheek as he whispered in her ear,“Where are your accusers? Did no one condemn you?”

Through her fingers she saw only the backs of her accusers walking away.

“No one, sir.”

He pulled her hands from her face and tilted her chin towards him. His eyes — so kind, gentle.  “Neither do I condemn you,” he smiled.

Others may humiliate us; make us feel ashamed. Those who behave well and lead good lives may accuse us or disqualify us. No one, though, can truly point the finger and judge another human being. In God’s eyes we are all flawed.

Jesus, in his perfection, is the only one eligible to rebuke us. Yet he does not view us with contempt. Jesus sets us free and declares us innocent.

Jesus whispers to us today,“I do not accuse you.”

Brushing arms with Jesus is life altering.

A POEM

With Jesus

there is no stinging fault-finding,

no criticism and judgment.

Others accuse.

They judge my actions,

deem me guilty.

They sentence me.

No matter what I have done in my life,

the wrong choices I have made,

in the eyes of Jesus, this

does not disqualify me

to be chosen by him.

Jesus

absolves my crime,

announces me innocent,

gives me freedom.