Will You Throw The First Stone?
I am going to share with you one of the most powerful passages, in my opinion, from the New Testament.
It's in the Gospel of John. John shared many true nuggets with us about our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ.
Bear with me and PLEASE read:
They went each to his own house, but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning He came again to the temple. All the people came to Him, and He sat down and taught them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to Him, "Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say? This they said to test Him, that they might have some charge to bring against Him. Jesus bent down and wrote with His finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask Him, He stood up and said to them, "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her." And once more He bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before Him. Jesus stood up and said to her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on, sin no more."
Can you even begin to imagine the fear that must have consumed that woman?
Yes, of course she was responsible for her own actions, her own sins. Still, what a horrific punishment she was facing for behavior that is now, completely acceptable in our society.
I never gave a thought to what Jesus was writing on the ground. In fact, I totally missed the significance of it.
Then, one day while having a conversation with a Pastor friend, we chanced to be discussing this very passage.
He asked me what I thought Jesus had written. In all honesty, I admitted that I had not a clue.
He admitted there was no way for him to prove it, but that he firmly believed that, if we could have looked or Jesus' shoulder, we would have seen a list of common, every day sins committed by women - AND men. Sins that went unacknowledged and unpunished.
Can you just imagine these "righteous" scribes and Pharisees were caught with the truth of their own sins and hypocrisy?
Seems like a blatant, but silent, admission of sin as they slowly dropped the stones in their hands and then slunk away, doesn't it?
As I was re-reading that passage as part of the year-long Bible study I am doing, it dawned on me that in the past almost two years, the world has changed drastically.
People have been trained to fear being around others, believing what may or may not be the truth shared by our leaders and media, and that they have been empowered to bully and run roughshod over any daring to believe differently than they do.
Can you, for just one moment, imagine having the Living True Word kneeling in front of you while you are self-righteously shaming someone else over a sin? And, as you watch, you see that marvelous hand writing a list of ALL the sins (large and small) that YOU have committed in your lifetime?
Makes me shudder and puts me on the verge of breaking down in sobs of shame.
You know, I would truly live in fear if everyone on planet earth thought and believed exactly as I do.
I am so grateful that our loving and patient Abba created us all differently. We have different colors of skin, different languages, different clothes, different living conditions, and on and on.
And yet, with a gift such as that, we try our best to completely destroy everything and everyone around us. Whether by intent, accident, or malice, we do just that.
Some are far more blatant than others. Some are sneakier in their actions. But, we ALL display this behavior at times.
Rarely do we accept responsibility, acknowledge our sin and fallibility, or reach out in compassion or repentance.
Look where that has gotten us, you and me. Look at where it has gotten our country and the entire rest of the world.
I think we all need to step back, take a few deep breaths, pull out a pen and paper, and do just what Jesus did: make a list of ALL the sins we have committed and take ownership of them.
Perhaps then we would be able to feel and exhibit true compassion and love for His children who surround us day by day.
Just food for thought.
I have my list. At least, it has been started. I need to take a break and find another empty notebook. The one I started with is now full...
What say you?
Can we all put ourselves aside, embrace those around us, and finally, truly learn to accept each other just as we are, just for WHO we are?
After all, Abba not only created us, He calls by name because WE ARE HIS CHILDREN.
Can we start acting like we believe that?
Challenge issued; challenge on!