by Brandy Webb
I have been thinking about the adulteress woman’s story found in John 8:1-11. I have been wondering how God’s people would act in a circumstance like this one. Would we be like the Pharisees, who wanted to stone her to death, or would we be like Jesus, who wanted to give her mercy and forgiveness? The reason I have been thinking about this is that Christians have seemed to become branded as a judgmental “stone throwing” group of people, and I wonder if there is any truth to this.
Are we quick to cast stones? Are we blinded by the plank in our own eyes? Do we look at others and say, “I am glad I am not as bad as them”? Do we forget that all of us are sinners and “fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23)?
Now, I know there are directions on dealing with blatant sin within the ecclesia. However, throwing stones is not one of the ways. In fact, there are instructions on how to handle sin in a loving way within the ecclesia. The first thing is to confront your brother in private (Matthew 18:15), just you and him, not do like the Pharisees did and drag the sinner out in public to be stoned. Yet, someone may say that the Pharisees were working within the confines of the Law of Moses found in Leviticus 20:10, but where was the man who also sinned? I can’t answer that question. Plus, Jesus wanted to point out that, truth be told, everyone standing around this woman was guilty of just as much sin as she; for if you sin against any of the commandments you are guilty of breaking them all (James 2:10).
That is why we should be very grateful that we have a Savior who, instead of casting stones, gives us a chance to repent and be forgiven. We know that Jesus “is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the whole world” (1 John 2:2). We also know that we, who are called by His name, are supposed to walk “just as He walked” (1 John 2:6). We are to show love and mercy. We are to “love our enemies, do good to those who hate [us], bless those who curse [us], and pray for those who mistreat [us]” (Luke 6:27-28). We are to treat people the way we want to be treated, with love, mercy, and forgiveness, not by casting stones.
It is time to put down the stones. It is time to walk in the large footsteps of our Messiah. It is time to always ask ourselves, are we reflecting Him in our daily lives? It is time to take out the beams in our own eyes rather than worrying about the splinters in others’ eyes (Matthew 7:3-4). We must remember “mercy triumphs over judgment” and faith without works is dead (James 2:13-17). Our works should always reveal the light and cast out darkness. We should live a life that silences our accusers and reveals Christ instead.