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There are some aspects about myself I really don’t like.  And this one, I really hate.  (At least I know this about myself and am working to change both!)

I can be pretty judgmental sometimes. 

Not all the time, and most definitely not with all people……but I can be in some situations. 

Take stupid people for instance:   I don’t understand them, I have no patience with them, and they irritate me.  Am I the poster child for INTELLIGENCE all the time?  Heh.  Ummmm.  No.  Probably not even half the time. 

The other group of people I cannot seem to tolerate:  hateful, mean people.  This group also contains people that think they are better than everyone else.  UGH.  {pbttt!}  big spit in your eye. 

(Yeah, that was pretty terrible, huh?  I did say I was working on it.)

But I am a pretty compassionate person, (if you cry, I cry.  Pretty standard in my life.) so outright meanness on someone’s part, I don’t understand…..especially when they are mean to me personally.  Be forewarned:  my judgment will come out pretty heavy.  I’m pretty self-defending, probably not to your face, but my mouth will run a-mile-a-minute behind your back.

(UGh…..I really gotta rethink being so honest on here.  I don’t look so good most of the time.)

But I also have a hard time letting things go.  If you hurt me, I carry that big ol’ rock around with me for a long time.  When I see your face, I think about it and it makes me want to avoid you.  And if I am not careful, I will end up carrying a whole backpack full of these stones around with me allowing Satan to use them at every chance to continue my terribly low self-esteem. 

This one, I will say, I am working on.  People may try to throw their stones, but instead of picking them up and carrying them around with me, leading to my self-deprecating thoughts, I am learning to leave them on the ground.  (YAY!  Progress!)

Which, in a completely rambling sort of way, leads me to Sunday’s lesson.   John 8 tells us the story of the adulterous woman, and there is a lot of background story here, so I’ll try to keep it simple and uncomplicated.  (I am the epitome of uncomplicated.) 

This story looks pretty cut and dry:  Jesus is telling us NOT to judge others. 

Well….possibly.

John 8:1-11

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.”

Please take notice that the woman has NO NAME.  It could have been omitted as a way to protect the woman and her family…….or, and personally what I think, it leaves an anonymity so we can place ourselves in there.  She is a symbol for all of us. 

And please, do not believe that because the MAN was not brought in, that God favors men over women.  That just is simply not true.   

If a man is found lying with the wife of another man, both of them shall die, the man who lay with the woman and the woman. So you shall purge the evil from Israel. (Deuteronomy 22:22)

By law, both parties to the adultery were charged and punished. There was no leniency shown to the man, and in fact Jewish Rabbi law held that he was  more responsible for what happened than the woman.  I don’t know why they only brought the woman, it’s possible the man had already been stoned.  (Scary thought for this woman, huh?)

OK, carrying on:  the trap, if Jesus said to stone her, He would be going against the Roman law that said  no one could be put to death without their authority (John 18:31). If he said not to kill her then they could accuse Him of breaking the law of Moses.  So, in a nutshell, there’s the trap for Jesus. 

I’m not going to get into the whole “doodling in the sand”.  That’s not for this lesson, and quite frankly, this lesson could go on and on!  It’s 11 little verses, but there’s a LOT to it! 

The part I want to focus on today, is Jesus reaction!  He didn’t scream at her.  He didn’t publicly ridicule her.  He didn’t publicly announce every sin, past, present, and future she had ever committed.  He said simply:

“All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” 

Ouch.  Was Jesus calling them out on their own sin of adultery that no one knew about, and this was His way of telling them, “Hey, dude.  I know what you’re doing.”?  Possibly.  Was He telling us centuries later, “Look, bud, I know you’re guilty too.  Put the stones down.”  Could be. 

He didn’t have to publicly ridicule her.  He didn’t have to list her sins, they both knew she was guilty.  I believe this was Jesus’ way of loving the sinner, hating the sin.  He gave her mercy in her sin. 

It’s easy for us to point fingers at everyone around us, but we have to take responsibility for ourselves.  We have our own mess, I can’t even begin to judge you for yours because I’m not done dealing with my own yet.   Friday night at camp brought that to my reality.  We gave those girls a safe place to open up and not only confess their sin, but to share how Christ had changed their lives and forgiven them of their sin during this week.  Some had dealt with it, others needed the help of the rest of the cabin in order to give it to God and receive His mercy and grace.  But the rule of the cabin was:  NO JUDGMENT.  None.  Unless you are perfect in your life and in your walk with God, you cannot judge.  There was a lot of crying, and a lot of praying, but the end result was a cabin full of girls and ladies changed by God!

This story isn’t the condoning of sin, Jesus didn’t say He condoned it.  He was calling her to CHANGE! “We both know your sin, now, stop it!  Don’t do it again.” 

(This next portion of the blog is dedicated to Jeff, the Theologian.  Every once in awhile, I’m intelligent.)

Don’t be confused by this verse:  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.”

By the law of Moses, there had to be more than ONE accuser, according to Deuteronomy 17:6, there had to be 2 or more witnesses!  If no one is standing there accusing the woman, there are no witnesses.  By Jesus saying “Neither do I”, He is NOT letting her off the hook!  He is telling her, “You are pretty lucky.  You have no witnesses this time, but stop how you’re living so this does not happen again.”  (I do not ever want to put words in Jesus’ mouth, this is only my interpretation.  And I am NOT a theologian by any stretch of the imagination.)

My point for all of us here is, our walk with Christ should be better.  If we are the accusers, we better be right with God.  If we are the condemned, we have to change, we can’t continue on with our sin. 

Be kind…….. and lay the stones down.

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