Updated: Jul 9, 2020
When they kept on questioning Jesus, 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.” – John 8:7
How quickly do you jump to conclusions? Read through the following three scenarios and note your first thoughts:
a) You see a co-worker flirting with her male boss.
b) When you see your recently-divorced neighbor, she's driving a new car, wearing new clothes, and always seems to be moving new furniture into the house.
c) A middle-aged friend keeps losing weight. All she talks about is her incredible personal trainer and her "fabulous" diet plan.
If you read through these scenarios without judging any of the women, congratulations! You are a much better person than me. If, on the other hand, you'd feel embarrassed to share your insights out loud, welcome to the real world of judgment. Every day we are bombarded with judgmental looks and harsh comments. Sometimes we’re the ones giving them.
Just this week, my dental hygienist said that even at my age I should consider getting braces. I told her no thanks, because people my age don’t really care about their looks anymore. We’re completely confident with our wrinkles, sags, and crooked teeth. (Ok, maybe not... but we're trying).
God must laugh at us all the time. He’s not quick to judge, so why are we? Think of how Jesus responded when the woman caught in adultery was thrown at His feet. I’ve always pictured her wrapped in a white sheet, shivering cold, with shame written all over her face.
There are three things we can learn from Jesus, then follow His example.
#1. Jesus is compassionate. He knew both the woman and the man caught in adultery deserved death according to Jewish Law (Lev. 20:10). But standing face to face with Him, the woman received mercy, love, and compassion. He told the Teachers of the Law, the Pharisees, and the crowd around Him to throw the first stone if they were without sin. Jesus had compassion for every single person present. He came to save ALL people. Even the “righteous” needed a Savior. Jesus was willing to die for them too.
#2. Jesus does not condemn. Jesus’ voice is calm and caring, not critical. Once the crowd dispersed, He asked the woman, “Has no one condemned you?” When she responded “No one, sir," Jesus declared, “Then neither do I condemn you.” Incredible! In one fell swoop she was saved from death, set free from wrath, and had a divine encounter with the Prince of Peace. For sure, she would never be the same.
#3. Jesus calls for change. The final words Jesus spoke to the woman were, “Go now and leave your life of sin.” He was confident to call sin "sin," and He believed that she wasn’t too far gone to change. She was saved on purpose, for a purpose. What a wonderful faith story she now had to share with other wayward women.
Her divine encounter gave her a divine calling. The same is true for you.
You have been forgiven by God’s grace. You have been redeemed by Jesus’ blood. You are becoming more like Jesus through His Holy Spirit. It’s time to drop the rocks and stop judging yourself and others. No one is without sin, except the one who knows you fully and loves you completely.
Instead of getting caught up in judgment, get caught up in Jesus’ mercy, love, and compassion. That’s where you belong. Keep your eyes fixed on your Savior, and you won’t be quick to judge. Close to Him, you’ll feel His compassion and be quick to pass it along.
3 O’CLOCK CIRCLES
Here are 3 questions you can discuss with someone or in a circle with several others. Please take a few minutes and read Jesus’ encounter with the woman caught in adultery in John 8:1-11.
1. In what types of situations are you quick to judge others? Or when have you recently experienced judgmental eyes or words?
2. Step into the woman’s shoes. How would you have felt standing in front of the crowd? How about after everyone left and it was just you and Jesus?
3. If you were to follow Jesus’ lead and show compassion instead of judgment, who could benefit this week? What’s your plan of action?
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