Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The First Stone

Focus verses: John 8:2-11

This is the familiar story of the woman caught in adultery. The law says she is to be stoned to death. The teachers and Pharisees brought her to Jesus as a snare to trap Him into saying something they could use to accuse Him.

When I was in school, there was a classic "impossible" question. "Have you quit beating your wife?"

How do you answer that? "Yes" implies that you once beat her but have stopped. "No" says you are still beating her. When you try to get into the explanations and clarifications, you wind up looking the fool.

One of my grandmother's favorite expressions was "better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt."

Silence is frequently an effective answer. Jesus answered them not a word. He merely bent down and traced something in the dust.

We have no idea what he wrote. He might have been writing "judge not that ye be not judged" or perhaps the names of sins that were secret in the crowd. Greed, hypocrisy, lust, prevarication, fornication, idolatry, witchcraft, jealousy, and the list goes on.

Perhaps he was writing a list of the sins committed against this woman that had led her into this predicament. (Oh, and by the way, doesn't adultery take two people. Where is the man?)

The point here is that only God is fit to judge. We humans have little capacity to see into the human heart. God knows intimately what is tucked into each hidden corner thereof. When we judge from our human standards, we rely upon the law.

The law is only there to remind us how imperfect we are, each and every one of us. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. There is no one who can fit that description. Let us leave the judging to the Ultimate Judge.

Father, God,

Save us from jumping to conclusions about the guilt or innocence of any other person. Help us to see from Your perspective that even the vilest sinner is simply a child You have loved who has strayed from the right path and is someone You long to bring back into the fold.
In Jesus' most precious name.

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