Prisons from the Past
“If ya knew what’d happened to me yer’d stop all that sissy pretty talk! Life’s tough so I can’t take the risk of change.”
Sometimes we have to tightly grip life, doing whatever we feel we must to survive. “I’m living in a prison of my past – what others did to me – how can I ever let that go?”
The religious folks were up to their usual point-scoring and they saw a chance to put Jesus on the spot. They hoped to force him to turn against one of those outcast people he was accepting, showing how shallow his acceptance really was, or better still force him to side with one of the ‘low-life people” so they could smash him with the establishment hammer.
So they launched a sting operation to catch a prostitute in the act. The guy she was with wasn’t interesting to them – it might have been one of their boys, so they spared him embarrassing public exposure. Boys will be boys! But this woman was culpable and dispensable, ideal for their scheme. The law was on their side even if justice wasn’t – they’re seldom the same anyway and all you need is to win the legal argument.
We aren’t told much about her story but who needs facts when we can guess?! Human nature tends to follow the same deep grooves so we can predict with reasonable accuracy what her story may have been. Oh she could have been a genuine “bad egg” from the very start, set on twisting people for her advantage and using her wiles to lead innocent and unsuspecting men astray. The religious people wanted to believe that but let’s keep it real, it wasn’t very likely.
Prostitution has always been a high risk lifestyle, not a line of work chosen for its benefits and security. Guys would take advantage of her and steal their money back; other women would judge her and ostracize her so she couldn’t mess up their husbands and sons. She was the victim and the rogue all in one.
Just picture the little girl excitedly leaping for joy as she told her mother she’d chosen her life’s dream, “Mommy, I want to grow up and be a prostitute!”
And her mother’s delighted reaction, “That’s wonderful darling, your father will be so pleased. Let’s start searching for the very best prostitute school for you. You know how he’ll want you to succeed!”
Sadly, in parts of the world today, daughters are still sold to become sex slaves. It could have happened to this woman. It’s unlikely she chose this “career” but it’s likely that this was all she could do to survive. In reality it was a form of super-abuse. Whose dark secret was she hiding? Had she been raped or molested, or lured into acts of incest early in her life, making her un-marriageable in that society? Had her family fallen on hard times and been unable to afford a dowry for her? Had she been divorced and left without rights or pennies to struggle through life while her husband kept it all? Was she a young widow who lacked the resources and connections to remarry?
There was no welfare state for her; no help to make life bearable, only her wits and her age were on her side (for now.) So she applied herself to the empty task of creating fleeting pleasure for dysfunctional men set on destroying their families. This girl had every excuse imaginable for low self-esteem, depression and dysfunction.
Whatever her particular story we can be sure that she had plenty of baggage. Memories she couldn’t put aside, anger that welled past her attempts to repress it, grief and loss about what her life might have been if only . . . , waves of jealousy at others whose lot in life had been so much easier and better, resentment at those who used and abused her, and all these things were not vague memories that flashed through her mind. They were a part of her daily life in hell here on earth. Letting go of the past is hard enough but her past still had its bars of iron wrapped close around her. And now the religious establishment was making an example of her. She probably recognized some clients in the “righteous mob!”
Jesus never said her choice of prostitution was the right one. He never excused her action but nor did he judge her for it. He never said he understood why she made that choice. He did address the religious mob indirectly, telling them that they were legally right and encouraging the ones who were sinless to punish her. Curiously the mob lost its fervor and melted away. No one felt qualified to act in judgment while others could tell their secrets.
Perhaps at that moment she realized that she’d been fighting more accusers than were there that day. As they melted away in shame maybe the accusers in her mind also dropped their stones and slunk off, their grip on her memories and life broken. She was responsible for her choices in life and as the prison walls from her past fell down she realized she was free to change.
“Where are your accusers?”
“They don’t exist!”
“Then neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin.”
And she did.
You can read this account in John 8
Posted on August 19, 2011, in Self-awareness and tagged abuse, accuser, grief and loss, incest, Jesus, law, prostitution, self-acceptance, self-esteem, sex slavery. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off.