Summary: Next time things seem impossible, choose to paint the problem in the colors of grace and justice instead of black and white despair.
• SLIDE #1
• As we live life, we are constantly facing situations that require us to think, make decisions, and then act upon those decisions.
• Making that process more difficult for us is the fact that we live in a world that is highly polarized.
• We are Democrat or Republican, conservative or liberal.
• We want everything to fit into box a or box b, fight or flight!
• SLIDE #2 FIGHT OR FLIGHT PICTURE.
• The fight-or-flight response, also known as the acute stress response, refers to a physiological reaction that occurs in the presence of something that is terrifying, either mentally or physically.
• The response is triggered by the release of hormones that prepare your body to either stay and deal with a threat or to run away to safety. https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-the-fight-or-flight-response-2795194
• In his book, The Hidden Option, author Jonathan Malm explains the concept of fight or flight.
• When confronted with a survival emergency, people default to one of two responses: either they run away, or they stand their ground to fight.
• This is a great survival instinct. Unfortunately, many of us carry that same fight or flight response to more complicated problems we encounter.
• When we face stressful problems, many of us tend toward this fight or flight mentality.
• So, when things get tough, we can revert to the flight or fight mode.
• Therefore, flight or fight leads to bad choices.
• We feel trapped, hopeless, caught between a rock and a hard place.
• What if there were more choices, though, that you’re unable to see right now? What if there are hidden options to the complex problems you face?
• Today, we’re beginning a two-part series called “The Hidden Option” where we explore God’s creative solutions to our most impossible problems.
• To start the conversation, let’s look at a story where Jesus found himself in what appeared to be an impossible situation.
• Jesus is reported to be at the temple, people noticed Him, and He began to teach them, when all of a sudden the Scribes and Pharisees appear before Jesus bringing along with them, a woman caught in adultery.
• Let’s turn to John 8 together to see how Jesus handles what looks to be a no-win situation.
• Let’s begin with verses 2-6
• SLIDE #3
• John 8:2–6 (CSB) — 2 At dawn he went to the temple again, and all the people were coming to him. He sat down and began to teach them. 3 Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, making her stand in the center. 4 “Teacher,” they said to him, “this woman was caught in the act of committing adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” 6 They asked this to trap him, so that they might have evidence to accuse him. Jesus stooped down and started writing on the ground with his finger.
• SLIDE #4
I. There is always a hidden option. (2-6)
• Jesus is spending time teaching the people, He is not looking for any drama or trouble, but here it comes.
• As Jesus is teaching the Scribes and Pharisees were up to no good. They brought a woman that was caught in the very act of adultery.
• The phrase CAUGHT IN THE ACT here means an undeniable act.
• I wonder who caught her and how? Anyway, we know these religious leaders were disingenuous with their anger.
• Verse 6 tells us that these men were there to trap Jesus more than they were concerned with this woman.
• These leaders thought they could trap Jesus because their way of thinking was linear. They thought there were only two possible answers that Jesus could offer, and both of the solutions would not be good for Jesus.
• The first option was for Jesus to suggest they execute the woman by stoning her. It was what many people believed God’s law demanded. Unfortunately, that made Jesus the executioner.
• That sentence would seem to contradict Jesus’ recent teachings on love and forgiveness.
• The implied second option was for Jesus to say she shouldn’t experience the consequences of her sin. That would put Jesus in opposition to the law of God. Neither option was good.
• The religious leaders thought they had Him, take choice A, and then Jesus just undermined His own teaching. Take choice B and disrespect the Law of Moses.
• The accusers are not seeking to debate the woman’s guilt or innocence (no one questions her guilt). They are attempting to thrust Jesus into the role of the sentencing judge.
• Did you know that everything you see on your computer and everything you do on your smartphone comes down to just two numbers? This two-number system is called binary, and it’s how computers think. By processing a series of ones and zeroes, it knows where your mouse is, what text it should put on the screen, and colors to show.