She waits. She flinches. Who will it be? Who is going to cast the first rock? Where will it hit? How long will she experience the pain?
But Jesus, the righteous Judge, the One Without Sin, does not cast the first stone. Instead, he asks this woman caught in adultery where her accusers have gone. They have left. They knew their own sin.
"Nether do I condemn you."
The Sinless Christ who could condemn chooses not to do so. Rather, He forgives, and urges the woman to leave her sin behind.
Note: While the Old Testament prescribes stoning as a punishment for some sin, it can also be seen as a picture of condemnation. Stoning was a condemnation from one’s community for an act that often affected more than just that individual.
As I stand here, I am both the condemned and the condemner. I am a hypocrite. I want to cast stones, yet I deserve to have stones cast at me. I rage against those who have sinned against me, yet I know I have sinned against others.
God seems to think that it is amusing to get me in a tizzy about something and then reminds me that I do the exact same thing I am upset about someone else doing to me.
In my desire to cast stones at someone else, my desire is actually to heap stones upon myself.
A mental image: Think about Super Mario Bros. You’ve picked up a Koopa shell to toss. It hits the corner wrong. And now you’ve just knocked yourself out. That’s exactly what I have done. (I apologize if you have no experience with Koopa shells and have no idea what I am talking about…)
Nearing the end of the semester, I faced a lot of discouragement when I heard that several people were saying uninformed things about me and my life without knowing what was going on. People were making judgments about my life without really knowing all of the pain I was experiencing. Some were “concerned” about me, and in positions to talk to me about their concerns, yet they didn’t; they merely talked about it with others. Some of their comments had merit, yes. But to hear about these comments from someone other than the source was painful.
It hurt. I had a heaping measure of righteous anger.
I was mad about something I myself do.
I have done that. I make judgments and comments. I don’t always love my brothers and sisters with my words. I justify my words with “concern” and the “need to process.”
I hate that. I hate that I may have hurt people as I have been hurt. And I may never know who I have hurt.
"Go, and from now on sin no more."
Jesus does not want me to walk away from His grace unchanged. He pointed out His grace to me in the midst of my frustration. He asked me to forgive and to look at my own life. Before you check the speck, examine the plank in your own eye, right?
So that’s fun.
Looking at a mirror is a little terrifying sometimes.