4 “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” 6 They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. 7 They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!”8 Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.”- John 8:4-7
In the story above (taken from John 8:1-11), a woman was caught in the act of adultery. Although it takes two to commit adultery, the woman was the one who was being threatened with being stoned. The angry crowd tried to use the law to justify stoning this woman. Jesus used this as a teaching moment when he responded to the crowd. He said whoever has never sinned, throw the first stone. The story goes on to say that every accuser starting with the oldest person left one by one. Jesus also goes on to restore the women. This story is a reminder of the fact that all of us have fallen short. Everyone has sinned and that is why all of us needed Jesus to save us. Romans 3:23 says, “23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, “.
This is a humble reminder that we need to look at everyone with the same eyes of mercy that God looks at each of us. God doesn’t judge in degrees of sins. My encouragement to you is that you should put down your stones of judgement. When someone falls short, it is one thing to discipline them in love or love them from a distance. It is another thing to expose their sin to the world while mocking and destroying the person’s reputation and hurting them, their loved ones and social network in the process. Some people are still dealing with the repercussions of their reputation being destroyed for a mistake or for something they did not do.
When you overcome something do not forget that there are people who may still struggle in that area. Pray for them and allow them to know they can trust you with their ups and downs. If you have a problem with gossip or cannot be trusted, tell them up front so they do not waste their time or tears. None of us are perfect and accepting that will lead to us to walking in freedom. So the next time you see someone make a misstep and you have a stone in your hand ready to be judgmental, remember Jesus’ response: Let he or she that has never sinner, throw the first stone.