Putting Down Stones
Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd. “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”
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. 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!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.
When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman.
Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” - John 8:1-11 (NLT)
I know people who have been hurt by people who make up the Body of Christ – the Church, be it:
Pastors. Fellow Christians. Teachers. Leaders. Flesh-and-blood family.
And it’s hard.
But what is even harder is to then see the Church attacked from within. To hear people telling it, “You’re irrelevant!” “You’re old, outdated, sick, wrong, unfixable!” “You should just admit it’s over – we’re over.”
The same Church Jesus gave His life for – His Bride – perpetuating hurts, fights. Losing sight of grace, love, and mercy on all sides. Picking up stones. Muscles and tendons taut, ready to throw, to wound, to hurt like they have been hurt.
And Jesus crouches down, drawing in the dirt. Waiting.
The sinless one among you, go first: Throw the stone. (John 8:7, The Message)
And you and I, we see our own hearts, the ways in which we have hurt and even scarred others. Our own wounds fade as the ones we have caused blaze angry and red. Our righteous indignation cools, fades. Rocks fall from limp fingers as we shuffle away.
Didn’t even one of them condemn you? No, Lord. Neither do I. Go and sin no more.
We are all pardoned in that moment. Undeservedly. Unreservedly.
So Church, let’s put down our stones. Let’s stop hurting each other in the midst of our own hurts. Let’s see what Jesus is drawing in the sand as He wipes away the sins and shames of our past.
Let’s show the world we are indeed His disciples. It won’t always be easy. But it will be worth it.