An illuminating truth is found in I Samuel 16:7:
…For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”
A commotion interrupted Jesus while he taught in the temple courts one day. A group of religious men dragged a woman to him whom they caught in the act of adultery. (John 8)
These religious leaders were hell-bent upon defaming Jesus. They had weaponized a woman’s vulnerabilities to trap Jesus in a problem with more barbs than a crown of thorns:
If he “incited” a Jewish-mandated execution, he would be accused of flouting Roman law (and likely be brought before a Roman tribunal).
If he encouraged the Jewish leaders to show mercy to the adulterous woman, they would say that he encouraged immorality and violated The Law of Moses.
So, Jesus rose above the arguments altogether. He said to the woman’s pious accusers, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”
In God’s eyes, the religious leaders’ exploitation of the woman far outweighed her sin.
Shame overshadowed the accusers as they gazed at the broken vessel in the dust. One by one they slunk away. Jesus had unmasked their ugly hypocrisy.
Some teachers say that all sins are equally repugnant in God’s sight—but they miss the mark.
In God’s view, powerful people who exploit the fragile and needy among us face the grim prospect of sovereign justice—a justice untainted by human manipulation.
O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more. (Psa. 10:17-18)
After Jesus saved the woman’s life, he repaired her brokenness:
“Woman… has no one condemned you?” he asked.
She said, “No one, Lord.”
“Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on, sin no more.”
Then Jesus resumed his teaching with the words:
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Truly “man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD
looks on the heart.”