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Why Context Matters

Learn from Toni Collier’s daily devotional as she provides some context around her childhood, and how she learned that God’s grace extends to us even in the worst situations.
5 min read

Toni Collier

| Pastor Hillsong Atlanta & Consultant

Have you ever freaked someone out when they did something nice for you by crying on them? Maybe you were having the worst day and your office-bestie brought you your go-to Starbucks order. Maybe you were walking down the street and someone asked how your day was. Whatever the gesture, has a situation like this ever caused you to burst into tears before someone?

Would it have helped that person if they had a little bit of context as to why the waterworks? If they knew your dad passed from cancer recently. Or, you just got dumped by the love of your life. That context probably would have made the situation a little less awkward for them.

Learn from Toni Collier’s daily devotional as she provides some context around her childhood, and how she learned that God’s grace extends to us even in the worst situations.

A little bit of context.

Have you ever experienced something that you thought wasn't a big deal, and you just brushed it off, but it unfolded into something so huge?

Our passage today comes from John 8:6-11 and it says this...

"But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, 'Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.' Again, he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, 'Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?' 'No one, sir,' she said. 'Then neither do I condemn you,' Jesus declared. 'Go now and leave your life of sin.'"

I remember when I first got married to my husband Sam. We moved into our house together and it was just so sweet. One thing you should know about me is that gifts are my love language. That's my thing. You get me something, you got me forever.

One day, Sam comes in and I can hear him. He's kind of snooping around. I asked him, "What are you doing?" He pulls this bouquet of flowers out from behind his back and basically threw them at me. 

I look down at these flowers and I burst into tears. 

I was so happy and so grateful, but he asked why I was crying. I responded, "You have no idea what this means to me. My love language is gifts." 

There was more to it though, and I need to provide a little bit of context for you. 

Growing up, my dad was verbally abusive and my mom was really sick. It was just a hard childhood. One of the brighter moments I remember is that for every holiday, for every single anniversary, for every birthday, my dad would get my mom flowers. This was one of the times that I saw my dad showing love and affection to my mom. 

These flowers that I received from Sam meant the world to me.

All Grace, All Truth. All the Time.

In the scripture above, what's happening is that this woman has been brought to the temple courts and she's been caught in adultery. The Christian men are like, "Jesus, condemn her. We're going to stone her." Back then, if you were going to accuse somebody of doing something wrong, it wasn't just “cancel culture”. You had to prove it. You had to quite literally go and catch the person in the act. 

These people that accused her couldn't come to the temple courts and say, "We heard so and so did this." No, they had to catch her in the act. Imagine they're standing outside the house, peering in the little window in the hut, whatever it was, and they have to go in there and drag her to the temple courts.

How much more does it mean that Jesus gives her all grace and all truth? 

How much more does it mean that Jesus gives us all grace and all truth all the time

Some of you reading right now know that moment. You’ve experienced that shame when you’ve done everything wrong. Maybe you stepped out on your marriage, or you’ve cheated and lied. You’ve watched that porn screen again. 

Whatever that is for you, how much more does it mean to you that even in one of the worst situations, Jesus will look at you and say, "I don't condemn you. Go and sin no more.

The Challenge

Here's what I want to challenge you with. What are some stories that you've heard? What are some “cancel culture” things that you heard and have no context for? What are some things in your spouse's life where you see all of this emotion erupting? 

I challenge you to dig deeper and ask, "Where is that emotion coming from?" Maybe it's in your kids. Maybe it's in your weird middle schooler. Let's just be honest - they're just so weird. They're just oozing with emotion or they're like, "I don't know how to get my life together." You haven't taken the time to figure out the context of where they're at. 

I want to challenge you to go deep, understand the context, have a full picture and a full view of what's happening before you. I just think it'll mean more. That’s my challenge for you today

Prayer

Let me pray for you.

God, I think it's so cool that we have this contrast of generations of preachers and teachers who have used a scripture or a saying, and it's meant so much. But, when we read the scriptures around it, we understand that it didn't mean that at all.

I pray that we can be people who actually choose to dig into the context to fully understand what's happening around the scripture. We can understand what's happening in people's lives. I pray that we are a people that decide not to stay on a surface level, but that we go deep, and understand what's happening. 

It's in Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

Inspired by this devotional from Toni Collier? We have so much more for you. Download the Tome App today to access more of Toni’s content, plus hours of unfiltered video devotionals from other inspiring storytellers.