"Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" "Then neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin." (John 8:10-11)

After Jesus stunned the Jewish priests when he didn’t support stoning the woman for adultery, the priests left, leaving the woman and Jesus alone. Jesus then showed the woman great compassion and forgiveness, as he simply requested that she have a change of heart: "Go now and leave your life of sin."

The purpose of discipline is to encourage a change of heart. God's discipline, unlike some discipline metted out by humans, is based upon His love and compassion for us. The woman had already been disciplined in many respects, and Jesus - God's representative - saw this. He also saw that the woman was seeking change, and for this reason he said what he said.

Ultimately the Supreme Being is a compassionate, forgiving God. Consider how each of us has offended Him throughout our lives. Consider how most of us act selfishly, not only ignoring Him, but treating our brothers and sisters with insensitivity or with downright cruelty.

Yet the Supreme Being does not give up on us. In His love, God has set up the physical world in such a way that each of us is automatically disciplined for the selfish, hurtful things that we do to others ("sin" in other words). This mechanism is set up so that when we hurt someone, that hurt eventually comes back to us automatically. The same mechanism also rewards us for things we do that help others.

This mechanism of the physical world is perfect, because it utilizes the system of consequence discipline: We perfectly suffer the consequences of our actions by experiencing their results personally. In fact, after many years of research, child psychologists have arrived at the conclusion that consequence discipline is the best way to teach a child.

In this way, the Supreme Being has set up the physical world to teach us, and rehabilitate us. Just consider how love plays a part in God's form of discipline: Just consider, for example, if loving parents found their child stealing from the store. Would they just let their son keep doing these things? Would they help him find his next victim? Certainly not. They would likely discipline him and try to help rehabilitate him, because they love him and want the best for him. Likely they would make him return what he stole and somehow work off his debt. This is no different than God's "consequence discipline" mechanism of the physical world.

And what does the physical world teach us? It teaches us that doing things that help others is good, and doing things only for ourselves without regard to others - or simply hurting others - is bad. In other words, the physical world is set up to teach us the meaning of love.

It also teaches us that we are ultimately unfulfilled without the Supreme Being. We need the Supreme Being, because God is our Best Friend and Ultimate Companion. This is why even people who are surrounded by many so-called friends and admirers - such as famous people - still feel empty and alone inside.

Through God's representative, Jesus, we can see God's compassion towards us. This is because Jesus - as he stated repeatedly - was doing God's will. Jesus' compassion towards the woman thus illustrates God's Personality, and God's ultimate desire to bring us home to Him, even though we have virtually ignored Him and offended Him through our lives. The first step - understanding God's compassion and love for us - allows us to begin the path towards re-establishing our relationship with the Supreme Being.

God's ultimate compassion is seen through His representative. Through God's representative, the Supreme Being offers us the facility to "graduate" from the lessons of the physical world and immediately return to Him - should we desire to re-establish our relationship with Him. Assuming we want to return to Him, He simply asks us to devote ourselves to Him and give all our love to Him and His children. This means that we think of Him, we pray to Him, we praise Him and we make offerings to Him. These are facilities are simple and powerful, and this is what Jesus taught his students.

This process is also the only way to "leave" our "life of sin." If we take to these activities, as Jesus taught, and put our love upon God, we begin caring more about God and begin caring less about ourselves, then we will gradually and naturally "leave" our "life of sin.". This is because "sin" is the opposite of love for God. "Sin" is selfishness.

It is a gradual process. As our love and attention is gradually focused more and more onto God, He begins to reveal Himself more and more, which enables us to grow in our relationship with Him. As this takes place, we naturally "leave" our "life of sin." This is why Jesus said:
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment.” (Matt. 22:37-38)


(For a more appropriate translation of Jesus' statement, see the Devotional Translation of the Gospel of John Chapter Eight - translated from the original Greek texts without ecclesiastical sectarian influence.)