3 The legal experts and Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery. Placing her in the center of the group, 4 they said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of committing adultery. 5 In the Law, Moses commanded us to stone women like this. What do you say?” 6 They said this to test him, because they wanted a reason to bring an accusation against him. Jesus bent down and wrote on the ground with his finger.
7 They continued to question him, so he stood up and replied, “Whoever hasn’t sinned should throw the first stone.” 8 Bending down again, he wrote on the ground. 9 Those who heard him went away, one by one, beginning with the elders. Finally, only Jesus and the woman were left in the middle of the crowd.
10 Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Is there no one to condemn you?”
11 She said, “No one, sir.”
Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on, don’t sin anymore.”
In this week’s devotionals, we are focusing on the marginalized people that Jesus spoke to. During the other days of the week, I have written about: children, women, those we hate and people who look different. Today’s devotional is about how we discount others for their sin.
Today I am thinking and writing about how we react to sin and sinners. Surely we are all sinners! But because of God’s grace, we are offered forgiveness when we sincerely ask for it. Of course one’s sins and their reconciliation are a private matter. So how can we really judge another? Comparing seems moot, yet we do judge as if we know better.
Jesus said, “Whoever hasn’t sinned should throw the first stone.”
While writing today, I am looking out over the stones in front of a family member’s home. I see the stones and wonder just how easily these could represent all the sins I can think of, or at least the multiple ways humans can and do continue to condemn one another. For example, I am thinking of people who have finished their prison terms and been released, but continue to find it impossible to find work.
We can’t really know someone else’s heart for God. We cast aspersions or “cast stones” although we know better. It seems even worse when not only do we judge, but we also continuously condemn others for their transgressions –long after someone has paid for their mistakes. Even when someone has attempted to make things right, do we know how to forgive? Can we accept that we know nothing of another’s saving graces or do we continue to cast our stones of judgment?
by Barbara Carlson
For Pondering & Prayer
Obviously there is right and wrong in the world. We need only to read over the commandments to know this. However, because we are all sinners, how can/do we judge our sins as any better or worse than another’s sins? Also how are people marginalized for days, years or lifetimes because of their sins, despite paying for their transgressions? How might we marginalize those that have been in prison? How might we continue to discount their abilities to become successful members of our society? Are their ways that we continue to “stone” someone by bringing up their past wrongs?
Prayer: Forgiving Lord, help us to forgive and let live, just as you have forgiven us. Amen.