When they kept on questioning [Jesus], he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:7)
It’s amazing how quickly people turn against one another. Just watch an episode of “Survivor” or “The Bachelor,” and you’ll see people who are seemingly friends suddenly ready to attack one another. In the world of Christianity, we’ve often been known for shooting the wounded people who aren’t even a part of our ranks.
Sadly, Christians over the centuries have been pretty good at throwing stones at others. It goes like this: when a Christian sees a non-Christian behaving in a way that isn’t very Christian, the Christian calls the non-Christian onto the carpet for his or her behavior. Here’s the problem: Jesus never used judging people as a means of bringing them to repentance.
The woman who was caught in adultery knew that what she was doing and the way she was living were wrong. That being said, the condemnation of the surrounding people didn’t help her address the sin in her life. It was Jesus’ kindness (“Neither do I condemn you”) that led her to repentance. Shocking, isn’t it? It shouldn’t be since Paul told us that in Romans 2:4. He said that it is God’s kindness that leads us to repentance.
The next time you’re tempted to judge a non-Christian for his or her behavior, step back and remember the example of Jesus. He didn’t condemn, but He called her to a better way of living. In John 3:17 we read, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” Isn’t that good news? Condemnation never was and never will be one of God’s goals – saving the world through Christ, however, was and is.
Father, thank You that Your love is not a condemning love: You love me in spite of who I am. Help me to love others in the way that You have loved me. Keep me from throwing stones, but let me bring others to You as I introduce them to Your kindness.