They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust. When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” (John 8:7-10)
Relate: I was sitting at the mall the other day when I noticed this gentleman walking in with three words written large on his shirt. Those words: “Don’t Judge Bro”. Being who I am, my initial reaction was for a critical attitude to begin to rise up in me. He was a big guy and could probably have lost a few pounds. The shirt itself looked old enough that he probably got it secondhand from some thrift shop. It didn’t match his shorts or shoes… and on and on. Before I even realized what was going on, I was doing the very thing his shirt told me not to simply because part of my mind had read the shirt and rebelled against it.
As I became more aware of what I was doing, I took my mind in another direction. T-shirts with similar messages are almost as common as the attitude behind that message and I began walking around consciously looking for other shirts with a similar message. They were everywhere. In the next ten minutes or so I must have found at least ten other shirts with similar messages on them. One I am not sure would quite fit into this category read, “If you think I’m crazy, you should hear what the voices in my head are saying about you.”
React: The thing is, we live in a society that refuses to be judged. Variations of two common phrases I hear all the time are, “Take the plank out of your own eye first before talking to me” or, “hey, don’t start casting stones, you’re not perfect either.” Both these phrases can trace their origin to the lips of Jesus. Both are terribly overused, misquoted, and abused. From Chris Brown right on down, we live in a world that doesn’t want to be held accountable for our actions. We want to do and say whatever we would like and anyone who tries to keep us in check is an evil, self righteous prig. We quote Jesus without having any idea what He was truly saying. We are like the woman caught in adultery yelling at her accusers in a vain attempt at justifying her own sin.
Jesus had every right to judge that woman caught in adultery. In fact, He did. He judged her worthy of another chance. I can almost imagine this woman if she were alive today. She would turn to Jesus and retort, “Don’t you dare tell me to stop sinning. I can do whatever I want with whoever I want. Take the log out of your own eye first, mister.”
Our responsibility is to not be judgmental towards others. Our responsibility is not to tell them not to be judgmental toward us. We should let Jesus defend our case rather than being so quick to do so ourselves. He alone has the authority to do so anyways.
Jesus, help me to recognize You as my Judge. You can and You will and You have held me accountable for what I have been done. I am Judged and found guilty but You have offered to pay the penalty for my sin. The truth is, I don’t get what I deserve. Keep me from the attitude that would say I deserve to not get what I deserve. It is because of Your grace that I am made right, not because of my goodness. Help me to live with an attitude of gratefulness and humility and submission to You.