Updated on October 10, 2015
Updated on October 10, 2015
Maybe she was lonely, or insecure and trapped in an unloving marriage. Or possibly her husband divorced her and left her without a second thought of how she would survive on her own. Whatever the case, she was caught red-handed committing adultery with another man, and he was not her husband. That was a very bad thing in her day.
The wielders of religious power grabbed her and dragged her out toward a crowd of people who were gathered around a man, an uneducated renegade, who was teaching them about spiritual things, and a new way of living with God. The religious leaders hated him. He threatened their way of life and seemed to disregard the rules. Hoping to finally trap the unauthorized teacher breaking the law, they presented the woman to him.
“Moses commanded us to stone women like these. What do you think we should do?”
He didn’t answer them. He simply bent down and started writing in the dirt with his finger. They kept at him, kept badgering him, insisting he enforce the law as a good Jewish man should. Finally, he spoke,
“Whichever one of you is sinless, go ahead and throw the first stone at her.” Then he went back to writing in the dirt. One by one, they all left, until just the woman and the teacher were standing alone.
“Where are all of your accusers? Hasn’t anyone condemned you to death?”
“No one sir,” she said.
“I don’t condemn you either, go and leave your life of sin.” (John 8:3-11)
My friend Donna likes to say, “There are no rocks in my pocket.” That’s a direct correlation to this story. What she’s saying is, “Your story is safe with me. I am no better than you. I sin and sin again, and have no condemnation to pour on you.”
Don’t we all just want a safe place to be real and honest? A place where it’s okay to struggle and make bad choices and experience hard things and know that if someone else knows we won’t be judged and condemned? Sadly, in the church those places can be hard to find. We walk around with planks in our eyes and rocks in our pockets.
Oh, you are gay? Here’s a stone. You mean you’ve been married three times? Here’s your stone. You drink alcohol? Here’s a stone. What do you mean you had sex before you got married? Here’s another stone.
If we allow the gays, the divorced, the drinkers and the adulterers in the church, what will happen to the integrity of our belief system? After all, didn’t Jesus say, “Go and sin no more?”
Well yes, yes he did. And I’d like to ask you how YOU are doing with that. Me, I’m not doing so well. Every day, despite my best effort, I sin. It’s a hopeless reality because I’m human. But what I’m learning, is that Jesus doesn’t condemn me. He doesn’t give me what I deserve for all of the sins I’ve committed. Sure, he has higher hopes for me, that I’ll “Go and sin no more.” And he wants me to try to do that, and I do. But in the end, he knows I’ll sin and sin again. I’m thankful I don’t get what I deserve.
You might say that I’m condoning sin. I’m not. I’m looking at the sinless one. He was the only one in the crowd that day that could have thrown the first stone. He could have but he didn’t. So if the one without sin refused to thrown a stone, why would I think I should?
Let’s empty our pockets and put the rocks aside. Let’s love people and leave everything else to God. Because, after all,
Love Never Fails
This is the 4th post in my series Love Never Fails for the Write 31 Days blogging challenge. You can click here to go to my introduction page and find links to all the posts in the series. Also, if you’d like to receive these posts directly in your inbox, just enter your email address in the bar to the right. I promise to never share your information.