A Look At Christians, Judgment, & the Mercy That’s Been Missing
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You’ve heard it before. “He who lives in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.” Perhaps you’ve also heard, “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.”
What is this stone people want to talk about?
It’s condemnation. Judgment. Criticism.
It’s the death we speak so freely because we forget that the power of life and death is in the tongue.
Dear sweet friend, this is why we need to start shutting up more than speaking up.
Related: Dear Chuch, SHUT UP! (or when Christians need to be silent)
When Jesus’ Silence is Deafening
In John 8:1-11 there is a story that really messes with my black and white approach to life. There’s a woman caught in the act of adultery who deserves to be stoned and yet she wasn’t.
Her condemners stood around her, ready to end her life as the law allowed. They threw her at the feet of Jesus, waiting for Him to speak against the Law (crafty little buggers that they were).
He didn’t play their game. He didn’t even talk to the woman. He knelt down and drew in the sand.
Perhaps He was writing out the Law. Maybe He was writing out the sins of the accusers. Maybe He was playing tic tac toe.
It doesn’t say.
But His silence was certainly deafening.
Sometimes silence says more than words, and its reach goes much farther.
When Mercy Triumphs Over Judgment
Jesus was wise. Very crafty. When He spoke, it was a total ‘mic drop’ moment.
He agreed with them when they quoted the Law, but then He did that thing. He did it a lot.
He fulfilled the Law instead of shattering it.
He agreed with them, but said “the one among you without sin gets to go first.”
The oldest ones dropped their stones and walked away first. The youngers ones possibly pondered if they could get away with anything here (oh the arrognace of our youth!).
When No Condemnation Survives
Romans 8:1 says that there is therefore now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.
Funny, isn’t it? In a tragic irony kind of a way.
We as Christians latch onto little snippets in the Bible about testing spirits and judging fruit and begin to toss flaming arrows of condemnation around, wounding others.
And yet, there is no condemnation for them. We scream “judgement” because we are self-important and looking at someone else’s sin is far more comfortable than examining our own.
And yet Jesus asked the woman to look around at her accusers.
None were left. “Neither do I condemn you,” He said.
No lecture. No prayer. Just a simple gift of mercy.
Who Are You?
I can’t tell you how often I’ve heard (and even believed, and acted upon) the idea that Christians are to judge rightly. How we have a responsibility to loudly proclaim truth and not compromise just to make others feel better. How it’s not only okay, but good, for us to see with discernment and correct those who are wrong.
But that’s not what this says. At all. That’s not the example Jesus set here.
He was fully justified in picking up a rock to throw at her, but He didn’t.
He stood between the woman dressed only in her sin, reeking of rebellion, and her accusers. He covered her shame with His presence.
Isn’t that just breathtaking? Jesus’ love is irresistible.
Sweet friend, I’ve been that woman. The grace of God has covered my shame and sent my accusers packing.
And somehow, I’ve also managed to be the angry crowd with a rock in my hand.
But what I need to be is Jesus. I need to be His hands and feet. His heart. His vessel of mercy that triumphs over judgment.
Church, this is the Jesus we are called to emulate. This is the example we are called to follow. This is the Love we are called to live out.
“Beloved Church, we were never meant to be the angry crowd with stones in our hands. Yet here we are with our hands heavy with rocks and our hearts as hard as them when we stand in judgment of our fellow Christians and shout truth at them, absent of the Love of the Beloved Himself.” (~Lisa Yvonne, read the rest HERE)
This has been a part of the 90-Day Bible Reading Challenge