Athletic competition can bring great delight to my heart. A football game won in the last seconds or a round of golf decided on the last hole breathes energy into me. A natural progression of thought during competition is comparison. I might compare two basketball teams deciding which is best. When my competitive spirit and comparative nature moves into a condemning mode, however, I often get myself into trouble putting someone or some team down.

What happens when we apply this downward swing in thinking to more significant areas of life? For instance, in the Bible, a woman is allegedly caught in adultery and brought by the Pharisees to Jesus (John 8). Immediately, my mind moves into the

competitive, comparative, condemnation mode.

In the past, I have thought of Jesus' words as condemning toward the Pharisees. "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her."

I saw a comparison which, in my mind, became a condemnation of the Pharisees:

  • Woman/good (protected by Jesus) vs. Pharisees / bad (judgmental)

This encounter with Jesus, however, was not a sporting event where Jesus chooses sides. Being one with God the Father, Jesus knows the hearts of both the woman and the Pharisees. He, therefore, approaches the hearts of each differently.

  • Lovingly standing and identifying with the woman 
  • Caringly challenging the Pharisees' position 
  • Distinctly pointing both the woman and the Pharisees in a new direction

The Bible tells us Jesus came not to condemn the world, but to save it (John 3:17). His heart is for everyone. To whom might God be calling us – to compassionately love at great risk and stand with them, pointing the way to Jesus?


Sharing the journey with you,

Bob Snyder