BEFORE I CAST THAT FIRST STONE…

E6F9EB51-2FB1-4C7A-B7DD-85F435D0E5CAJOHN 8:7-12: “So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (NKJV)
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OBSERVATION: Do I really want to throw that stone? Recently the news has been filled with mounting allegations of misconduct against a multitude of high profile individuals in both the entertainment and political field. It is easy to rise up and take sides and pick up stones to cast at the individuals we deplore the most. However, we might want to pause a moment before we cast that first stone.

There is one thing I have learned about throwing stones – no one wins! It blurs the lines of mercy and of justice. And it blinds us to our own sin, by clothing us in a false sense of self righteousness. This is not to say that crime should not be punished. However, we have seen what happens when even law enforcement forgets the principal of mercy in justice. The result is a sort of vigilante justice that lacks both.

This is exactly the situation Jesus found himself in when he came upon the woman caught in adultery. Her accusers had already passed sentence – without a proper trial, and without mercy. When Jesus came upon this situation, He stooped down and began writing in the dirt. There is no Biblical text that tells us what He was writing, but when He paused He said – “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” Jesus then resumed writing in the dirt. What happened? One by one her accusers dropped their stones and walked away.

Many have postulated that Jesus was writing their sins in the dirt, or perhaps names of those who stood around the woman accused, who had also sinned with her. Whatever it was, it was enough to bring them to conviction and cause them to drop their stones. I think we need to take a moment to ponder this before we are quick to throw stones.

Mercy with justice is misguided love.

Justice without mercy is misguided cruelty.

We need mercy and justice working together.

Before I received Jesus Christ as my personal Savior and Lord, I did not have the capacity to extend mercy. I could show mercy selectively to those I wanted to, or those I liked. However, to extend mercy toward someone I viewed as an enemy was not even in my radar. Yet, that is exactly what God has done for each one of us through Jesus Christ!

  • “For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (‭‭Romans‬ ‭5:6-8‬ ‭NKJV‬‬)

We deserved justice for our sin. God sent His Son to extend His mercy. We were positioned as enemies against God. God sent His Son to position us as sons and daughters of God through faith. Paul was a zealous Pharisee who took pleasure in imprisoning Christians and witnessing their death. Yet, God extended His mercy to Paul on the road to Damascus and redeemed his life. When we forget to walk in the mercy of God, we always end up perverting the justice of God.

Our justice system was established upon Biblical values. One tenant of these values that is a hallmark of our justice system is the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. This is where mercy precedes justice and judgment. When we we pass judgment, even before we have all the facts, and pick up our stones – we all lose. There is not one person alive who does not desperately need mercy. It is time to throw down our stones and put mercy before judgment. It is time to look to our own hearts before condemning the hearts of others!

Lord, in this day of anger and rancor, help me to walk in Your mercy.

Lord, help me to thrown down my stones.

In Jesus Name!

About Kirk's Devotional Journal

Kirk L. Zehnder is the Founder of Resurrection Christian Outreach. RCO is a ministry that promotes the growth and vitality of the local church through speaking engagements, seminars, various media tools, and written curriculum and books. This ministry was started over 35 years ago by Kirk as a means to strengthen the church that he was pastoring. It grew as Kirk began to share these tools with other churches. Today many of the materials are being used by local churches both nationally and internationally. Kirk's Devotional Journal is a result of struggling with Bible reading programs that never seemed to work. Kirk feels the Lord helped him discover an easy to follow program to Read, Reflect, Pray, and Journal through the Bible in one year. This program is called L.I.F.E. Unlike other programs there are no dates to follow. You can miss a day and still complete your reading. You never feel like the dates and verses you missed are chasing you. You are free to enjoy your daily Biblical journey and listen to the voice of The Lord. For more information on the L.I.F.E. plan, send an email to rcoutreach@aol.com. Kirk is also available for speaking engagements, seminars, and retreats. With over 40 years of professional business and pastoral ministry experience, Kirk brings a unique combination of practical wisdom, humor, and Biblical insight. If you would like Kirk to speak at your church, school, or ministry, please send an email to rcoutreach@aol.com and we will get back to you as soon as possible to discuss your opportunity.
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