In today’s society, whenever someone dares to criticize ANY type of action or behavior, it isn’t uncommon for a person to say that “you shouldn’t cast stones.”
It has long been my experience that people generally don’t like being told that something they are doing is wrong.
It starts as children. But many of them eventually grow out of it and start to behave like moral and responsible adults.
Some of them may not live according to the way they have been taught, but if pressed, they are also readily willing to admit that their behavior is clearly outside of the bounds of Scripture.
Others spend their lives looking for excuses to continue to engage in their illicit behavior.
As a justification, the really creative ones love to quote the words of Jesus, about the casting of stones.
These proponents of evil arrogantly spout these words like they should immediately silence anyone who dares to question or challenge their actions or behavior.
Perhaps we should look at what really happened that day, in order to put some proper context to the events which transpired and the words spoken by our Savior.
In John 8:1-11, the Pharisees brought a woman to Jesus who was taken in adultery, “in the very act,” the Scriptures tell us.
These religious and political leaders reminded Jesus of the Mosaic Law, which called for the woman to be stoned. Then they asked Jesus what He had to say about her sin.
What they didn’t know is that it’s rather hard to successfully use the words of Scripture to discredit the actual Author of those words.
When the woman was brought to him, the Scriptures tell us that the Lord didn’t say anything, but immediately stooped down and wrote upon the ground. But the Scribes and Pharisees continued to press Jesus on this matter and demanded an answer from him.
Jesus said, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”
Unfortunately, many of you stop reading the story right there, completely missing the entire context of the passage. Like the Pharisees, you deliberately take these words as a justification for your behavior and as a weapon to use against anyone who dares to challenge it, even the Lord.
Some of you cheaters might want to help me out on this one, but I’m pretty certain that the act of adultery generally requires the participation of no less than two people.
Therefore, if this woman was taken in the very act, can you tell me what happened to the man? Like her, why wasn’t he also brought before Christ to be stoned?
I think it’s quite likely that the man taken in adultery, who also equally-deserved to die, was standing in the midst of the crowd, waiting for the woman to receive her rightly-deserved punishment.
But these people who brought the woman to Jesus weren’t truly interested in fulfilling the words of Scripture or seeing sin punished. They were much more concerned with deliberately trying to use the words of Scripture to discredit the Lord.
After the woman’s accusers dropped their stones and walked away, Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn thee.”
But Jesus also added these critical words, the ones that so many of us miss: “Go, and sin no more.”
The Lord never told this woman it was okay for her to continue in her sin.
Christ told her to stop it. He told her to stop it that day.
And THAT is the lesson that people should actually take from this story.
The Lord offers forgiveness and deliverance from your sins; He doesn’t excuse them.
Moreover, Jesus expects you to forsake your bad actions and behaviors, not to embrace them, defend them, and to continue practicing them.
Just because nobody took up stones to throw at the woman, it doesn’t mean the Lord dismissed her actions and behavior. He didn’t.
Jesus doesn’t excuse your sins either.
Just because the Lord doesn’t choose to immediately slay you for your sins doesn’t mean that He approves of them. It also doesn’t mean Christ wants you to continue in them.
And it further doesn’t mean that other believers in Scripture are doing anything wrong in abhorring those things which God has already condemned.
That isn’t judgmental.
And judgment only becomes a sin when we try to assume the place of God, by thinking you can personally determine the condition of another person’s soul.
I believe our dealings with those who differ from our beliefs should reflect Christ’s example. But having said that, a person is not guilty of casting stones whenever they point out clearly-defined acts of immorality from a pulpit, in the context of a speech, or from the printed words of an editorial.
As the great crusading evangelist Billy Sunday once said, “Some people say I rub the fur the wrong way, but let the cats turn around.”
There is a Creator and there is a Savior. There is a Bible, a book which tells us the standards of right and wrong. And there are a set of moral absolutes in this world to which we are expected to live, honor, obey, and seek to instill in our children.
That is not casting stones.
It is a proper and relevant acknowledgement of truth, no matter how distasteful and uncomfortable it might be for some you to hear it.
Image: Courtesy of: http://theswirlworld.com/2013/04/04/wwjd-ill-tell-you-a-rant/