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.” John 8:9-11

John makes a note that the older Pharisees were the first to walk away, in defeat. They knew when to thrown in the towel, so to speak. Certainly there would be other battles, but on this one front, they had lost. There’s a good deal of wisdom even in the Pharisee’s retreating actions.

It’s a bit like chess. After someone has examined the board and called “checkmate” there’s really nothing left for you to do except to admit defeat. Tomorrow you can play another game, but today you’ve been defeated. In fact, if you spend more than a few minutes looking for ways to get out of the “mate” you’ll only look foolish.

Accepting defeat and knowing when to do so is very significant in life. Many of us, however, don’t like to lose (who does?). We’d rather stare for hours at that chess board, which is our pride shining through. But the older we get, the earlier we can accept defeat because we know our limitations.

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