Wooden Spoons and Grace
For whatever reason, daughter Lindsay has always had a way with her Dad. When I talk to my husband (her father) about her, he has no explanation for this phenomenon. He just laughs and admits she could wrangle just about anything out of him. It's not that she is a favorite of our four children, but for whatever reason his soft spot for her is huge. We did not "spare the rod, spoil the child." No, we tried our best to hold to Biblical standards of discipline. Some of the children seemed to get the paddling more than others. Of our four children, Lindsay was probably the least strong-willed, the most compliant. She didn't seem to need the corrections as much as the others. In fact, just a sideways look from Mom or Dad, and she was immediately remorseful and totally reformed.
I had in the house a varied collection of wooden cooking spoons that we used when the kiddos needed a "reminder on the behinder." Some were large spoons with long handles. Others had slots in the spoon end. The kids claimed those spoons were highly dreaded. A few of my spoons had very short handles. I called those the purse models. Just because we were out and about did not mean a free ticket to misbehave. The kids were well aware that I always had a spoon along, just in case. There was one mysterious incident involving Lindsay that we came to understand years later. She had misbehaved, and Dad had the duty to take her up in the bedroom and make an adjustment on her backside. Days later, she informed us that together they devised a plan: while he smacked the spoon down hard onto the bed she would cry appropriately. The two of them were smirking at each other the rest of that evening, enjoying their own private secret. We all understand now that Grace was administered that evening up in her room. The story of the adulteress brought to Jesus in John 8:1-59 is one of the best illustrations of grace. She was caught in the act. The law required stoning of such a person. She didn't speak a word. No denial. No begging or asking for mercy or forgiveness. Jesus extended it to her, though, in his great compassion and love for her. Those who brought her looked for allegiance to punishment; Jesus looked for compassion. Jesus maneuvered the situation so that the woman could see and know that all were sinners. The others were forced to admit that they were no better than her. He leveled the status of all. This is truly the gospel message right here in a moment. We all have sinned and are in need of a savior's grace. Romans 3:23 "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Jesus didn't look to condemn her; he found a way to save her. That is why he came, after all. The older ones in the crowd left first. Why were they the first to wander off? Maybe the younger ones hadn't dealt yet with their own pride and self-righteousness. It was hard for them to give up their indignation. Oh, and why wasn't the man who was participating in the act of adultery with her brought in? Jesus' directions to the woman: 1. Go 2. Now 3. Leave your life of sin. Go back home, immediately "pack your bags," and move on to a new way of living. Jesus wouldn't have told her to do something that was impossible to do. In just a few moments this woman was given a whole new lease on life, a hope and a future. She met a man who showed her true love, not exploitation. She learned her worth as a woman was equal to all of the men, even the scholars and leaders of her society. And, she met the Lover of Her Soul.