John 8:3-11 is one of my favorite references to the teachings of Christ in the Bible. What basically happens is that a whole group of Pharisees come to Jesus with a woman who is actually caught in the act of adultery. The penalty, for her at least, was to be stoned to death. They asked, "What shall we do with her?" Jesus answered that one who had not sinned should cast the first stone. All of her accusers vanished.
Why is this my favorite teaching? It reminds me. Reminds me that I deserve punishment, but I am forgiven. It reminds me not to be quick to stone someone else for their sins. The message of Christ is mercy. God is love and God is mercy. It is HIS WILL that NONE should perish.
Okay, so there is the scripture. What does it mean? Sometimes, I think we learn scripture, can quote it even...but it never actually sinks into our hearts. I'm asking you to let those things sink in your heart.
- Let he/she who is without sin cast the first stone.
- His mercies are new every morning.
- Jesus did not come into the world to condemn it, but to save it.
- God's will is that NONE should perish.
Perhaps then, my role is not to be the investigator that solves the crime or finds the guilty party. Perhaps, my role is more of a supporting one, allowing God to do the heart work. To gently and lovingly remind myself and others that none of us is without sin. To remind a person who has jumped into the deep end of sin that God has a calling for them. That no matter how far they roam, the mercies of God will not run out. Otherwise, I'm just another Pharisee calling for the stoning of a sinner that could just as easily be me. I choose grace. I choose mercy. I choose God's will that none should perish. Above all else, I really want to love people as much as I love myself and I want a gentle restoration...not a demand of repentance or banishment. Love and mercy are powerful tools, let's use them to make a difference in the lives of those around us.