There was the harlot facedown.
She was accused of something. It may or may not be true. She was condemned as a harlot. It was simply accusation. She was apparently caught in the act of adultery. What of the man she was with? Why only her? Dragged from the bed into the streets. Taken away to guaranteed death. Surrounded by only hate, she was on her knees weeping. Aside from the possibility of her guilt (or innocence) she was not even given a chance. No room for apologies. No room for defense. Just certain death. The mob of hate surrounded her with stone in hand. It was in the waiting of the first release that time stood still. A beautiful stranger rose to his feet. He stepped in. Knelt beside her. Maybe he brushed the tangled hair out of her face. Maybe he kissed her forehead. Maybe he wiped blood from her brow. He then gazed into the mob. The condemners. When she had no chance of survival, he stepped in and spoke up for her behalf. Who were they to condemn, those hypocrites? Who were they to think that they could take life without a second thought, those murderers? Who were they to take her value of life away? With stones? Hate. Anger. Curses.
The stranger wrote something in the ground. Gently. Or fiercely? As he wrote the unknown the mob dispersed, knowing they would not have their death. The woman would not die. Not that day. The harlot would live. The harlot would not bleed anymore.
But the beautiful stranger took her place. “What’s yours is mine. What’s mine is yours.” Only a short time later did a similar mob condemn the beautiful stranger. Only a short time later did the mob surround the man with the same hate. But he was not guilty. No evidence but a verdict still given. Death. The beautiful stranger would die. This time no one stepped in. No one spoke on his behalf.
It should have been her.
I am heartbreakingly reminded of this woman. She is still around today. She is the homeless person. She is the liar. She is the one that gets the blame. Without a thought, she is the condemned. She is the harlot. She is everywhere. And yet, the beautiful stranger died in her place. Even more, the beautiful stranger died in mine. I have the opportunity to step in and help the harlot. To give her a chance at life. Yet, often I find myself with the stone in hand and the bitter words coming from my mouth. And always I find that the beautiful stranger took my deserved death. I am not without sin. The next time I see the harlot, I have a choice…