John 8:2-11 (NIV)
2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.7 When they kept on questioning him, 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.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
11 “No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
In John 8, Jesus found Himself before a hostile crowd of Pharisees and scribes with an adulterous woman. Hoping to trap Him, they interrogated Him as to whether the woman deserved to be stoned, the punishment according to the Law of Moses. Knowing their scheme, Jesus came to the woman’s rescue: “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” After pondering Jesus’ statement, they realized that they too had sinned. Furthermore, the posers of the question about the Seventh Commandment on adultery wanted to break the Sixth and Ninth Commandments concerning murder and false testimony. Realizing their sinfulness, the men departed one by one starting from the oldest, leaving only Jesus and the nameless woman. Jesus then said to her, “Then neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin.”
We all have done things we aren’t proud of. If our laundry list of sins was exposed, we may not be stoned, but perhaps criticized, even disgraced. But the story of Jesus leads us into an entirely new place. God has shown compassion toward us, so we can show that to others. In short, we must put down our rocks. It means refusing to pass judgment. Not once did Jesus berate the adulterous woman, but simply admonished her, in private, to sin no more. We are to make the daily choice to bless, not curse, as Jesus has done for us. Whenever we see someone struggling with sin, we don’t need to judge. We still struggle ourselves so we really do not have the right to judge. Only Jesus has the right to judge, and He has chosen to forgive. We should do the same.
Charles Spurgeon said, “None are more unjust in their judgments of others than those who have a high opinion of themselves.” How true that is.
Just ask yourself how you feel when you have been judged by others for sins you have committed? Think about that before you decide to judge someone else? Every one of us deserved to be stoned at some point because of our sins, but what a beautiful thing it is when the stones can be laid down instead.