Summary: A thought about our need to reach to each other with compassion and heal the sorrow our sins can cause.
“The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" 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. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. 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.”
Imagine Jesus, compassionate and protective, standing with the woman caught
in the act of adultery, challenging the crowd to examine their souls. It is a moment of tense silence as the stones in their hands grow heavy with the weight of their own sins and desperate attempts for love. What if, suddenly, one person unable to see his sin (or unwilling to admit it) throws a rock at the woman? It strikes her, and bounces to the ground. What would happen? You know. So do I. She would die under a barrage of stones as the flood gates of self righteousness open.
But what then? What would happen to the stones? Would they lie on the ground jagged and stained? Would someone collect them and show them in a museum? Would someone in her family retrieve them, sharpen them and throw them back at members of the crowd? And perhaps the most intriguing question of all - what would Jesus, the Savior, the one who could have whisked her away to safety but chose instead to give humanity a chance, do with those stones?
I believe Jesus would pick up the stones one by one and with his own garment clean the blood from their surface and use them to build a wall or a well or a church. I believe Jesus would reclaim those stones in the name of the Holy God who made them and use them for hope's purpose. I believe Jesus would make a lesson and a life change of those stones.
We live in a world where sinners throw stones every day. We hurl insults, divide with prejudice, and judge one another without hardly any thought to the stone we are throwing or the sin we deny. Jesus is pretty clear. If you have sin in your life, then you must seek forgiveness, reconcile with God and change your ways. Only a person without sin may throw a stone (and why would they want to?). The appropriate action for those with sin is to feel compassion and similarity with the other sinners we encounter. The best course of action is to work together and provide help and hope along the path of repentance.
As servants, we have two jobs. First, we must recognize that we are sinners too. We might not be involved in adultery, but a quick personal inventory will confirm in our hearts what we already know – all sin and fall short of the glory of God. Second, we must start picking up the stones. The wound from a granite insult needs to be healed, and the harm of division must be cleansed so real construction can begin. Let’s pray this week, that just as surely as God forgives the sin in each of us, God can use us to gather the pieces, smooth the rough edges and build a bridge to love from reclaimed stones.