News reports the end of August were full of examples of people messing up. The one that seemed to draw the most media attention—particularly Internet media attention—was the response of a contestant in the Miss Teen USA pageant to a current events question. Lauren Caitlin Upton, Miss South Carolina, was asked this question: “Recent polls have shown a fifth of Americans can’t locate the US on a world map. Why do you think this is?”
Her response: “I personally believe that US Americans are unable to do so because some people out there in our nation don’t have maps and that I believe our education, such as in South Africa and the Iraq, everywhere like such as, and I believe that they should, our education over here in the US, should help the US, or should help South Africa and should help the Iraq and the Asian countries so we will be able to build up our future.”
In our pride we may laugh at Miss Upton’s cryptic response. I know I did. I even made a hair color joke out of the story. But, in her defense, few of us know what it's like to have a microphone in our face in front of a national television audience. She is not unlike a lot of women you servants of the Lord end up counseling. A young girl finds herself in a vulnerable situation and does not handle it well. Her wrong response to the vulnerable situation brings mockery and even anger from those who see it.
The Lord Jesus met yet another woman who was subjected to the same kind of public scorn. John 8:1-11 records an incident where some religious leaders brought a woman to Jesus in the temple, claiming she had been caught in the act of adultery. Rather than rendering a verdict from the law of Moses, the Lord Jesus stooped and wrote things on the ground. Whatever he wrote served to show the woman's accusers that they had no business acting as legal prosecutors in this case. We do not know the history, the guilt or the innocence of the woman brought to Jesus, but we do know that he became a servant to her. For the purpose of this blog entry, let's focus on the work of the Lord Jesus toward vulnerable, sinful people—a work he continues today through us.
How are you doing what Jesus did? You can serve people in the same two ways he served this woman (and many others): providing refuge and truth.
Refuge: Like the woman brought to Jesus, many young women you encounter are being used by others. Can we really say the men who brought the woman to Jesus were genuinely interested in glorifying God by helping her? Can we really say all our jokes about the pageant contestant were neighbor-loving?
Truth: Like the woman brought to Jesus, many young women you encounter have made sinful choices. The Savior certainly did not consider the sin of the woman taken in adultery an unimportant matter. His last words called her to leave her life of sin. The Gospel of Christ provides more for us than a home in heaven. It provides help and hope for change right now. Truth is essential even if it is not popular. Evangelism and discipleship are the order of the day in Biblical Counseling.
We might well ask how many of the "accusers" of Miss Teen South Carolina offered her compassionate help in public speaking or geography. Better to identify yourself with the Savior than the accusers.