I have often wondered if I have ever been the FIRST to cast aspersions against any one, known or unknown. If I have I would be guilty of bringing discredit to the person and possibly ruin their reputation. Yet, do I have the right to accuse any one of wrongdoing when in my life there may be things that I would not want known? “Judge not and you will not be judged...”
A woman was brought before Jesus and was accused of committing adultery. According to law, “Moses commanded us to stone her.” The challenge was turned towards her accusers in His response. In effect He said: “Go ahead and stone her! But let the man who is without sin be the first to cast a stone.” Jesus leaves the matter for them to decide by examining their own consciences. The woman, Mary Magdalene, is left alone with Jesus, He both expresses mercy and tells her to go and sin no more. The Scribes wished to condemn, Jesus wished to forgive and to restore the sinner to health. His challenge to the woman involves a choice – either go back to your former way of sin and death or reaches out to a new way of life and happiness with Him. Jesus pardoned her and gave her a new start in life. The grace of God enables us to confront our own sin for what it is – unfaithfulness to God, and to turn back to God with a repentant heart and a thankful spirit for His mercy and forgiveness.
As we pray the “Lord’s Prayer,” we ask to be forgiven as we forgive others. Have I said this from habit or have I really searched for the grace to truly mean it? “Condemn and you will be condemned.” Jesus is telling us to look at others as we would want them to look at us; to treat them as we want to be treated; to help them find the grace that flows from His wounded side as He hung on the Cross on “Good Friday.”
We cannot be Christ like if we are like the Scribes and Pharisees that we find in the Gospel reading. We cannot point fingers at others as the Scribes and Pharisees if we are Christian and follow the fulfillment of the law in Jesus. Through the gift and grace of the Holy Spirit we can be changed and made new in Christ. He can set us free from our unholy desires and passions. Jesus never lost an opportunity to bring freedom to those oppressed by sin and guilt.
It is my prayer during the remaining days of Lent, that we will look deep into our being and whether we go to confession in a “Confessional” with a priest or take our requests to our Father through Jesus, please talk to Him in sincerity from our heart. Let us take all of our desires, hopes and dreams to His Altar and leave them there for Him to handle.
Let us not become one who will cast the first stone!