AMH Series // His Word is Written Across My Heart
A couple of months ago, I started waking up in the middle of the night from dreams about people coming into my room while I was sleeping. Sounds pretty terrifying, right? They were all people I knew, but every night I dreamed about a new group of people coming into my room. The dreams became more and more frequent until I was waking up 4 or 5 times in the night.
Since I’ve always been a hard sleeper, I was confused as to why I was waking up so many times every night. I finally talked with my mom about my frequent dreams. For some reason, I’ve slept like a log every night since that conversation.
Press the pause button on my story.
Last week I heard an encouraging message on John 7:53-8:11, the story about the adulterous woman. I’ve always been fascinated by this story, but I was surprised to see how much it related to my dream incidence. Hold tight, and I’ll explain.
Guilty but not Condemned
John 7:53-8:11 says, “They went each to his own house, but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, ‘Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?’
This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, ‘Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.’
And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’
She said, ‘No one, Lord.’
And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.’”
Undone in an Instant
Can you imagine being that woman? You have lived your life striving to please others and make your life look presentable from the outside (don’t we all?). You have done your best to impress anyone who looks at your life from afar. But all of that work to make yourself seem presentable to a watching world is undone in an instant. Your worst sin is exposed in front of the whole town. And you know in that moment that your life as you knew it – wrapped neatly with a bow despite what was on the inside – is over.
Can you imagine the shame? The devastation? The humiliation? The disgrace? Can you imagine if your deep, dark sins were out in the open for the world to see?
The people are ready to stone you for your actions. And you know that by the Law of Moses, you deserve it. But you hear Jesus’ voice silence the crowd’s condemnation. One by one the people leave.
Relief washes over you as you realize that you aren’t going to die. But then you realize whose presence you are standing in, all alone – the presence of Jesus. Who of us can stand before Jesus? We have all transgressed against God. We are all in the place of this woman. Yet Jesus tells us, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”
Known and Still Loved
Jesus truly knows the woman. He knows the sin she has committed. He knows all of her sins. He knows the depth of her depravity. Just like He knows you and me. He knows. But Jesus, in His infinite love and grace, does not condemn the woman. He knows her sin and doesn’t deny it, but He still shows His love for her and charges her to live a life that pleases God.
There is freedom in being known. At the Pure Freedom Masterclass that the AMH team attended, Dannah Gresh talked about how God knows us fully and completely, but He still loves us after we rebel. He knows, yet He loves.
You can press play on the dream story now.
After talking about my dreams and hearing the message on this passage, I came to the realization that the people in my dreams who kept coming into my room at night were all individuals that I was trying to impress. I was trying so hard to seem like a cool, authentic person so that everyone would want to get to know me. Since I was striving so hard to keep up the appearances of an ideal life, it started to invade my dreams. It wasn’t like I was trying to keep some big secret from anyone, but the people kept coming when I wasn’t prepared to impress them.
If I’m honest, I sometimes feel like I have to keep up appearances with God. I can fall into thinking that I have to get my act together because He is so holy. But God already knows me fully and completely. When we confess our sins to Him and repent of them, we find liberation from the sin and darkness that once bound us. There is such freedom in knowing God and being known by Him.