We are so like the men in this passage from John. Quick to judge and we want that person punished. There’s a saying, “People who live in glass houses, shouldn’t throw stones.” Jesus knew what was in the hearts of the people who accused the woman caught in adultery. He wasn’t going to play their game. In the Gospel, the men walked away, beginning with the oldest. But we know people – and maybe ourselves at times – that call out the secrets sins of others while trying to pretend we have blameless lives. I believe that every one of us has something they would like to hide. It could be a youthful indiscretion or something more current, but we all have something. Would we like to be judged in the same way that we judge others? I’m sure we can find excuses for any of our behaviors, and may not consider them sins, because we can justify them. Don’t we realize that the people we’re judging also have reasons for their behavior as well?
In the Gospel story, there’s no mention of the man she was caught with – in the very act – just her. In that day, a woman alone couldn’t work and could be cast out of her husband’s home if he so chose. Maybe that was the only way she could have a place to live or food on her table. We’ll never know. And maybe we shouldn’t worry about judging our neighbor either. Who’s the judge? The answer to that is simple – God. Since we are not God, we don’t have the right to judge.
Do we remember Stephen?
The Stoning of Stephen
When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.
And we pray:
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” is also known as the “Golden Rule”. Father LORD, we ask You that this direct every action in our lives. We pray that Your Word direct us, Amen.