I felt sad when Robin Roberts “came out” and announced she was gay. I, and many others, had suspected the announcement but hoped it would never come. There have been thousands, including the President and his wife, who are applauding Robin’s “bravery” and there are thousands who shout their disapproval. What would Jesus say to both groups?
I think Jesus would defend Robin Roberts the same way he defended the woman in John, Chapter 8. Jesus was in Jerusalem, in the temple courts, when the Jewish leaders brought in a woman who had been caught in sexual sin. The woman in front of Jesus was an adulterer, not a homosexual – but both are considered sexual sin in the Bible.
The Pharisees and teachers of the law were supposed to be the most knowledgeable, spiritual people in the Jewish culture. They were the individuals most esteemed for their “walk” with God. These leaders made the adulterous woman stand in front of the crowd, then turning to Jesus said, “In the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” His answer is our example today.
Jesus defended the right of the woman to live, and not die. He offered grace for her sin. The Pharisees and Sadducees kept questioning Jesus, wanting him to offer his opinion. Instead, Jesus bent down and began writing on the ground with his finger. Scripture doesn’t tell us what he wrote. It could have been a verse like, Psalm 103:12, “As far as the east is from the west, so far he removes our transgressions from us.” Or maybe Jesus, who knows all things, began writing the different sins of those from the crowd.
When Jesus stood up he looked at the crowd around him and said, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Then he started to write in the dirt again. One by one, each person in the crowd left, unable to throw a stone. Every word of Scripture is important. I had never noticed these four words found in John 8:9. Each went away, one at a time – “the older ones first.” Why were the oldest people in the crowd the first to leave?
The older I get, the more aware I am of the fact that “all have sinned” and “there is no one righteous, no not one.” I used to think I was better, stronger and more spiritual than some other people. Now I realize I am just a sinner like everyone else. Wisdom comes with age – to those who are willing to receive it.
Those of us who are older, wiser and have walked with God for a long time, should be the people who are able to show and give the most grace. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. Am I saying that we should keep our mouths shut and let the world believe that homosexuality, pre-marital sex, pornography, and every other type of sexual sin are “acceptable”; of course not – neither did Jesus.
The crowd was gone and Jesus was alone with the woman who had been caught in sexual sin. He asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” The woman looked at Jesus and said, “No one, sir.” Jesus declared, “Neither do I condemn you.” If Jesus did not “condemn” the woman, why do we think we can “condemn” someone today?
If the story had ended with those words, we would know that the only response to Robin Roberts and her announcement would be to remain silent and leave the judgment up to God. But that wasn’t the end of the story. Jesus, the sinless Son of God looked at the woman and said, “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
If I could speak to Robin Roberts I would tell her that I have no right to condemn or judge her for announcing she is involved in a homosexual relationship. But I would want to tell her that a sexual relationship with someone of the same sex is described in Scripture as “leading a life of sin.” And Jesus wants something better for her. I wouldn’t offer her my “opinion” – I would offer her the word of God.
For those who want to live with Christ as our example: We must always offer grace and forgiveness for any sin, that anyone commits. At the same time we must offer the truth. We cannot “accept” sin and give others the impression it is permissible by God. We must encourage people to “leave a life of sin” because God wants to be able to bless them – and God can’t bless sin.
Are you one of the “older ones?” Be the first to leave – not the first to throw a stone. But as you leave, speak the truth. “If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
God wants to forgive Robin Roberts, and all of us. And God wants us to lead clean, righteous lives. Isn’t that what every parent wants for their child? The next time a conversation begins about Robin Roberts or anyone else, who will you sound like – Jesus or the Pharisees? One response is condemnation, the other – redemption.