Lifelines: Casting Stones

How easily we slip into our judicial roles as we act as judge and jury of the wicked. We see the sin, condemn the sinner, grab a rock and toss it. Another lost soul is stoned into eternity and the self-righteous move on without a thought of their own guilt. Maybe that is why we do it. It is much more difficult to introspectively analyze than it is to criticize.

Jesus exposed the fraudulent. The woman was as guilty as…well…sin (John 8:1-11). She had been caught in the act, so there could be no denial, and it was dreadful. Adultery! There is very little that humans deem worse than that, and the law had spoken. Stoning was the sentence, and they were more than ready to start throwing. A few minutes with the Lord changed all of that.

They left with their proverbial tails between their legs. Why? No one, not a single solitary one of them was qualified to hurl that first rock. Jesus invited a look, not at everyone else, but at themselves. That ripped the mask off of their charade. Sinlessness is the only qualification, and none of them met that requirement. Confrontation with that fact eliminated every potential stone thrower. It always will.

The question remains unanswered as to where the other guilty party was. Adultery takes two. Where was he? The Law said that both should die (Leviticus 20:10). Why did the accusers not drag him in as well? That mystery lingers, but Jesus made His point. He sent the woman on her way with clear instructions to cease the foolishness. He did not minimize her sin nor did He condemn her. He simply told her to stop it.

Jesus signed His own death sentence with that declaration. If no one had ever sinned before, that one would have sent Him to His grave. Someone had to die for that one. He would. How intensely God wants to forgive rather than condemn. A life was demanded and provided. The just is the justifier (Romans 3:26).

Now, back to us. Where do we fit into this picture? The adulterous woman? The condemning scribes and Pharisees? The Lord who refused to join in the condemnation? Jesus came to be light. The very next verse says so. Our steps are shady without Him. Our judgments are faulty. Our hearts and minds remain unexposed. He reveals to each of us all that is within us. We will see ourselves as we really are, sinners in need of forgiveness. We should think about that the next time we reach for a rock.

Mike Hinrichs