Unfortunately, we live in a society that judges people. There is no room for error or mistake. The truth is all of us make mistakes. We mess up. We say the wrong thing. We do the wrong thing. We even fail to do the right thing. This is the point Jesus made when a group of religious leaders brought a woman to him, who was caught in the act of adultery.
These men dragged this woman out of an adulterous setting, and stood her in front of Jesus to inquire whether she should be stoned to death, as the law stated. Ignoring their misstatement of the law, (not including the adulterer as part of the punishment), Jesus stooped, wrote on the ground, and after being badgered for a response, finally said: “He that is without sin, cast the first stone” John 8:7. After making that comment, stones began to drop to the ground—the youngest to the eldest until they all disappeared.
How many of us have stones in the palm of our hands and are prepared to throw them at someone? We throw stones on the Interstate when someone makes a mistake while driving. We throw stones at our children. We throw stones at our spouses and partners. We throw stones at people we call friends. None of us have the right to throw stones, because none of us are without sin. We are all in need of divine grace, forgiveness, and mercy.
Imagine the shame, guilt, isolation, and rejection the woman brought to Jesus felt when the person she was with permitted these men to drag her and put her in the middle of a crowd of people with the purpose of trapping Jesus.
Regardless of what the woman did, she did not deserve this exploitation of her sins. Look at the way Jesus responds to her. Jesus is loving. He does not chastise her or put her down. He does not even mention the nature of her sin. Jesus extends grace: “I am not here to condemn you. Go and sin no more.” What if we responded in this manner to people who have fallen short or who have hurt us?
The world would be a better place. Let us learn from Jesus that none of us can cast the first stone. Let us learn from the woman caught in the act of adultery that standing before Jesus naked may create issues of shame and guilt, but it can also result in deliverance and redemption.
There is no condemnation in Jesus Christ. Rather than casting stones, let us operate in forgiveness and love.