Welcome to week 7 of the 10 week ProGrace experience. If you’re just joining us, be sure to check out the first posts: Start a Conversation, Continue the Conversation, Grace Overcomes Shame, Grace and Forgiveness, Shame and Scarcity and Grace and Truth.
Last week we explored the question, “Based on what a woman is experiencing with an unplanned pregnancy, what truth would you tell her first?” And we focused mainly on which truth to tell.
So this week, we are looking at not just which truth, but when to say it.
A friend of mine is a physician who has embraced the ProGrace Approach told me a story about being in a hospital room preparing to deliver a baby. The mom-to-be was a teenager, and her mother was also in the room. As the teen mom was in the advanced stages of labor, her mother was re-hashing all the ways her daughter had gotten into this situation. She was saying things that were “true,” but my friend was very uncomfortable.
So he said to her, “Is this the best time to discuss this? Can’t we all focus on the fact that in just a few minutes, God is bringing a new life into the world? I think what your daughter needs to know right now is that you are here for her and this baby.” Immediately, her posture and attitude shifted, and she began to encourage her daughter. And that changed the atmosphere in the whole delivery room. Just like Jesus changed the atmosphere of the situation with the woman caught in adultery in John 8.
In his book Hearing God, Dallas Willard says, “We must enter into our study of [the Bible] on the assumption that the experiences recorded there are basically of the same type as ours would have been if we had been there.” So we are going to revisit this passage, giving God some space to speak to us as if we had been there.
Read John 8:2-11 again (or if you have a Bible on your phone, listen to the audio while closing your eyes). This time, picture yourself as the woman in the situation. Imagine that what you wrote on your “shame” card at the workshop has been made public and the Pharisees are asking Jesus to condemn you. Ask the Holy Spirit to illuminate truths about the order in which Jesus handles the whole situation. How do you feel about how and when He steps in and answers their accusations? Write down any insights He gives you.
Finally, does the way Jesus interacts with you make you want to hang onto that sin from the “shame” card? Or does it make you want to draw closer to Him so you can “go and sin no more”?
For me, receiving grace from Jesus always causes me to draw nearer to Him. And He is the only one who breaks the power of sin in my life.
Wouldn’t it be the same for a woman facing an unplanned pregnancy? And if so, what would it look like for us to follow this chronology in addressing her?
- First make sure we adopt a posture of honesty about how our own sin is just as significant as hers (Matthew 7:3-5).
- Then diffuse the threat of shame she faces by silencing the judgment from others.
- Let our first communication with her be to tell her the good news of “no condemnation.”
- When we finally do discuss sin, make sure it’s in the context of offering hope for a transformed life (we believe this is best done by connecting her to a local church).
Sit with this order for a few minutes. Does anything seem out of place to you? If so, ask Jesus to speak to you about it. He is the master of transformative communication, and says that we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). That means we can trust Him to show us what truth someone needs most at any given moment.
Most of the questions we get at the end of our workshops are around this idea of grace and truth. So it’s natural to still have questions! We would love to hear any questions, thoughts, or feedback in the comments. And we will spend time next week looking at more “Grace first” interactions with Jesus.