‘Teacher,’ they said to Jesus, ‘this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. In our Law Moses commanded that such a woman must be stoned to death. Now what do you say?’ They said this to trap Jesus, so that they could accuse him. But he bent over and wrote on the ground with his finger. As they stood there asking him questions, he straightened up and said to them, ‘Whichever one of you has committed no sin may throw the first stone at her.’ (verses 4-7)
Read John 8:1-20
We are so quick to condemn. We shake our heads in concern about the extramarital affairs of the neighbours, the thieving rascals who brazenly take our pot plants or cars, or the people that we know who pilfer office stationery or cheat the tax office. In fact, we are so concerned about the sins of others that we hardly have time to think about our own.
When the adulterous woman was presented to Jesus, his reaction was surprising. He appeared to take little notice. He had one comment: whoever had committed no sin had permission to condemn the woman.
The lesson for us to remember when we are quick to condemn is to leave the judging to the only person who can judge with righteousness and true justice: God himself. He alone has the right to condemn. But, thankfully, through Jesus, he is always ready to forgive—as we should be.
When I become sidetracked and judgmental about the sins of others, dear God, help me to be like you and forgive them, as you forgive me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
by Grace Bock, in ‘Assurance for each Day’ (LCA, Openbook, 2004)
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