Do I fit in here?

There was a time in my life when I was out and proud in the gay community and felt that I actually belonged there. Yet at the same time I didn’t entirely feel like I was meant to be there. I had enough of a Christian upbringing to know the lifestyle I was living wasn’t for me.  

In church for a long time though, I had also felt very alone and I didn’t feel like I belonged there either. Having same sex attraction I didn’t know who to turn to for answers to my, oh so many, questions. The rebellious proud gay man wanted to be out there in the world, while the Christian wanted to deny the flesh and be stronger than I was.

I didn’t feel like I fit in, in church or the world. Like many prodigals however, the day came when I came home to find a warm welcome was waiting for me in the familiar embrace of the Fathers arms. It’s then that I started to speak about sexual stuff in churches which breaks down the barriers that we so easily put up when it comes to the subject of sex. For me, I don’t see why I should only talk about my own very personal issues of SSA when we live in a world that is obsessed by sex. I don’t mind giving my testimony, but sometimes I feel like I also need to challenge others to look at their own lives too.

“The women caught in the act.”

One scripture I often use to teach people about Jesus’ view on sexual sin is in John 8, which tells the story of the women caught in adultery and how Jesus forgives her. Recently I wanted to go deeper into this passage of the Bible and started searching for teachings on it. What I found surprised me. I like to think I know most things about the Bible. But the more I study the word of God the more I realise how little I actually know!

What I found in this study was that this story has a similar issue with the feeling of belonging as I do.  It seems about 500 years after John’s gospel was written someone added this story. The evidence for this is quite overwhelming when you start to study it.

Don’t freak out.

Now don’t freak out about this too much, it doesn’t mean the Bible isn’t accurate. The fact is the Bible was copied many times over into far more languages than just its original ones. There are a lot of small differences that turn up over time from all that copying, but the differences are usually small and not considered errors, much like some versions today have different ways of saying the same thing. But here in John 8 we find that all the earliest manuscripts don’t have the story. It’s even written in a different style to the rest of the gospel using words John doesn’t use. Anyone studying John’s gospel in Greek gets here and straight away they notice this change.

I think they added it because they wanted to talk about sex!

The issue then when you want to study it, is no one’s looking at it the same way as they do the rest of John’s Gospel. But in 500AD or there a bouts the church seemed to want to talk about sex (and all this time later we still don’t want to address the elephant in the room). Yet the church in 500AD thought it so important they added a story that wasn’t previously in John’s gospel. That story has then remained in the Bible. I find this incredible. It makes me love this story even more.

Judgment under the law results in death but Jesus changes that.

The passage is about the difference between the penalty for sexual sin before and after Jesus. It’s a gospel message. It’s good news. So let’s look at it. It is a message about sexual sin. No one wants to talk about that. Why is that? Because no one wants reminding of their own sin. People want to say we must not judge because they themselves feel condemned. Judgement under the law results in death but Jesus changes that. Jesus judges all of them.

Some say this message is about not judging others but that’s not correct. Jesus judges everyone there. They judge themselves. The men all walk away, it’s not a question of not judging, if that’s what you take from this you have walked away like those men and missed what happens next which is the most important part of the story.

He who is without sin cast the first stone – this is a challenge

Knowing she is guilty the woman is at Jesus’ feet. She doesn’t even ask for mercy. Jesus asks her, where are your accusers, where are the men who want you dead. Gone. And neither do I condemn you, Jesus says.  Jesus’ challenge was “let Him who is without sin throw the first stone.” Jesus was the only one who was without sin.

Go and sin no more – this is a commission!

He then issues the women a challenge. He says go and sin no more. Notice He says she was sinning before.  To say, “sin no more” assumes she was sinning. Jesus forgives and empowers change. If you walk away in sin you miss a commission to “go”. Jesus said go into all the world and we call that the great commission. But we have to start with a great confession. I am a sinner and I deserve nothing good. But the good news is Jesus took our sin paid our price and conquered death (that we deserved) for us. In the same power that then raised him we live free to live free from sin to GO & SIN NO MORE.

Here’s the thing, this women doesn’t fit in. You and I don’t fit in. This story maybe didn’t fit in. But someone added the story!

And someone added you and me, to an even greater story.

Carl Pether





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