Sunday, July 29, 2012

Throwing Stones

Throwing Stones
July 30, 2012
John 8:7  "When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, 'Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.'"

We LOVE to point the finger at other people's faults.  It is so easy to see the wrong doings of others, but we seldom point our own finger toward our selves.  While someone might be in the wrong at an exact moment in time, pointing it out in a fault finding manner is never what the Lord intended.  In general, instead of pointing out the faults in others, a right thought process to have is: "I'll allow the Lord to work in his life, as I'd like the same consideration for myself."  The Lord knows each individual heart; He knows just the perfect way to correct every one of us.  He is sovereign and it is best to place it all, including the person who is in the wrong, in His hands.

Consider the story of the woman who was caught in adultery.  Jesus appeared to a crowd who was just about to stone a woman to death.  It was a stoning crowd formed with the intent to kill, not a few rogue vigilantes.  The woman was caught having an affair and the rules of he day allowed her to be stoned.  It is probably safe to assume that her adulterous act did not take place on that exact same day, but rather she had been through a due process administered by a few religious leaders.  In fact, back then, the woman's husband could have forgiven her and taken her back, but instead he probably gave consent to the stoning and may have been present in the crowd.  To begin the stoning, a religious leader then had to give permission for the first stone to be cast, setting it permanently in motion.

Very few of us consider the emotions of the husband and the wife in this story.  It is probable the marriage was arranged and he much older and respected in the community.  She was property and possibly one of a few wives.  It becomes easy to see how a person in this type of scenario could find emotional contentment in another's arms.  For Jesus to forgive her, without passing judgment on her in that crowded moment, she must have had a contrite heart about her indiscretion.  Jesus didn't feel the punishment fit the crime, especially at the hands of those who were holding the stones.  The husband did not extend forgiveness or try to stop the stoning.  He and the religious leaders decided that putting the woman to death was the best option for her failures.  Jesus disagreed.  He reminded each and every one in that crowd of their own sins, that they all had many failures, even the religious leaders and the husband of the adulterous woman.

I do not condone adultery, nor am I suggesting it is an easy offense to forgive, but I do know that each and every one of us has many faults and failures we would be ashamed to see made public.  And no man or woman is above any sin; we are each capable of making the same mistakes as others.  The faults of others may not be as obvious as the sin of adultery, but we still like to make it known to others that they are failures and worthless, maybe even deserving of great punishment.  But the Lord would say to you to allow HIM to work on the individual; allow HIM to extend mercy and forgiveness at the perfect moment, correcting and leading in His sovereign manner.  After all, the Lord has done this for you and saved you from those who would cast the first stone at you for your failures.

Don't take my word for it; look it up: Proverbs 10:12, Proverbs 17:9, Matthew 7:1-5, 1 Peter 4:8

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