By Rev Deacon Jeanne Beale, presbytery minister, Presbytery of Port Phillip West
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” – John 8:11
The story of the woman caught in adultery (John chapter 8) enabled me, in my early 20s, to climb back from the rubbish heap that I had cast myself upon.
Childhood sexual abuse had set me on a path of self-hate and self-destruction. By my teenage years, I was living very promiscuously, believing that if I wanted to be loved, I needed to give my body as an offering.
This behaviour drew copious amounts of bullying from the girls at school, and when I tried to change, the bullying came from the boys.
It was at this point in my life that sport became something else I was good at. It was nice to receive praise for something other than sexual favours. So, I locked my promiscuous self into a cell within and threw myself into sport.
I left my former life behind and excelled in most sports.
However, no matter how hard I tried to put the past behind me, the shame and guilt of my chequered history always found me. No matter what I did, I always believed I would never be good enough.
I sat through many a sermon that pounded my heart with the awareness “that I was a sinner, and that I was going to hell”.
But, then one day I heard it, from the lips of Jesus “neither do I condemn you”.
A woman caught in sexual promiscuity, a woman I identified with, defended by Jesus before a crowd of condemners, all of whom had sinned at some point in their life and were thereby not worthy to judge the sinful woman.
Jesus, the only one worthy to judge, unlocked the cell within me and releases my broken inner child from the shackles of shame and guilt and invites her to fly free and pure.
Yep, this passage saved my life and set before me a ministry of care for the “broken child” inside each one I encounter.
I pray for healing and freedom for your inner child.