THE FIRST STONE
He was seated, teaching a crowd of willing listeners.
Suddenly, there was a commotion.
What was happening? A riot?
A tragic occurrence?
The crowd surged forward and they thrust her like discarded clothing at his feet. He tried to gaze at her but she could not even look at his face.
What had she done to merit such a harsh treatment?
Then the spokesman for the angry mob spoke to him in a voice drenched with rage,
‘This woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law commands her execution. What do you say?’
Jesus smiled. The smile of one who has a ready answer to confront a smart child with his foolishness. ‘How could they let their hypocrisy become so glaring?’
A woman caught COMMITTING ADULTERY WITH HERSELF?
He bent down and wrote on the sand.
Then he raised his head and gave his verdict:
‘Let he who is without sin among you cast the first stone.’
They looked at one another.
They searched their consciences.
Many of them knew their evil deeds that they had COVERED.
But they could unite to brutalise the one that had been CAUGHT.
The stones they held felt like lead in their hands.
And one after another, they walked off, leaving her alone with the saviour. (Read John 8: 1-11)
And he gave her another verdict, ‘Go and sin no more.’
I remembered this story when Chude Jideonwo spoke at the Excellence in Leadership Conference.
He painted a dismal picture of the church today. A place where wounded soldiers are shot, instead of their wounds cleaned.
When brethren ‘fall by the wayside’, how do we react?
Do we sit in judgment over them and ask for their head?
Do we join the world to castigate them?
Or do we restore them?
It is necessary to discipline offenders when they break rules. A Christian who commits adultery or any other sin should face disciplinary measures. BUT we should CORRECT IN LOVE and not drive the offender away from divine presence.
Jesus HATES SIN but LOVES THE SINNER.
Sometimes we get so caught up in our self righteousness and come down TOO HARD when people make mistakes.
You cannot save a soul you have already condemned.
You cannot matter to people if they think they do not matter to you.
How many times have you failed God and cried and begged him in the secret place to forgive you?
And he covered your sins and showed you mercy.
Why do you think the other person does not deserve mercy?
As Chude spoke that day, I remembered several times I had joined the multitudes to condemn offenders. And I pleaded for mercy.
May God help us to show compassion to our wounded soldiers for of a truth, none of us can CAST THE FIRST STONE!