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Learning to Ignore Outside Distractions

No matter where you go or what you do, there will always be someone who rubs you the wrong way. Whether this is a clash in personalities, a power struggle or a pushy individual who annoys you, staying cool in the heat of the moment takes practice. In the first century, Jewish religious leaders became the itch in Jesus’ craw. One after another approached Him daily trying to catch, deceive and trick Jesus into saying something that he’d regret. The passage below serves as a lesson to ignore outside distractions.

This they said to try (test) Him, hoping they might find a charge on which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger. However, when they persisted with their question, He raised Himself up and said, Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her. Then He bent down and went on writing on the ground with His finger, John 8:6-8.

As Jesus strolls into town, community leaders are in the process of following Deuteronomy 22:22. To set the stage, a woman caught in the act of adultery has been brought to the center of town. As citizens begin to gather stones to throw at this woman likely tied to a post, religious leaders ask Jesus for advice. Rather than fall for this trap, Jesus begins writing in the ground (a mix of dirt and sand). Following a series of questions, Jesus stops writing and addresses the crowd with a reflective statement.

They listened to Him, and then they began going out, conscience-stricken, one by one, from the oldest down to the last one of them, till Jesus was left alone, with the woman standing there before Him in the center of the court. 10 When Jesus raised Himself up, He said to her, Woman, where are your accusers? Has no man condemned you? 11 She answered, No one, Lord! And Jesus said, I do not condemn you either. Go on your way and from now on sin no more, John 8:9-11.

Jesus ignores all the outside distractions by continuing with his message, writing in the sand. What did Jesus write? Why did everyone in the neighborhood drop their rocks and quietly go home? When the sound of footsteps and closed doors disappear, Jesus looks up to an abandoned town square. Jesus doesn’t let her off easy, addressing this woman with a call to action. As you leave this place alive, escaping death, go now, turn away from lust and abandon your sinful lifestyle. Learning to ignore outside distractions will take practice, but Jesus has set the tone for how you should live your life.

by Jay Mankus

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