by Edie Melson
When they persisted in questioning Him, He stood up and said to them, “The one without sin among you should be the first to throw a stone at her. John 8:7 CSB
Imagine with me the scene that day. A woman has been caught in the act of adultery. In first century Israel, it’s a crime punishable by death—death by stoning. The men and women drag her into the public square. I can hear the voices of her accusers, raised in hatred and condemnation.
- “You’re nothing but filth.”
- “You knew what could happen when you made your choice.”
- “Get rid of her. We can’t have someone like her contaminating our town.”
She’s thrown at the feet of a famous teacher, for him to pronounce the death sentence. Why did they bring her to him? Because he’s known for his compassion. By bringing her crime to his attention they can literally kill two birds with one stone. They can get rid of a sinner and either expose him as a liar, or a lawbreaker.
Instead, Jesus introduces them all to the concept of grace.
And He does it without compromising the law or the heart of compassion he’s known for.
Back in the viewpoint of our sinner, I can imagine her laying there at His feet, covering her head with her arms as she tries to make as small a target as possible. Every muscle is tensed, waiting for the first stone from the angry mob.
As the crowd begins to quiet, instead of the sound of stones whistling through the air, she hears the words of the teacher. His pronouncement takes them all by surprise—even her. And I can imagine that the next sounds she hears are the thumps all around her as the stones drop to the ground as the crowd disperses.
Those in the crowd learned a valuable lesson as did the woman. They learned that they have a choice when it comes to confronting sin. They can be stone-throwers or stone-droppers.
It’s a choice we still have today. Starting today I’m going to make a conscious effort to drop those stones and be an instrument of grace.
About the author: Find your voice, live your story…is the foundation of Edie Melson’s message, whether she’s addressing parents, military families, readers of fiction or writers. As an author, blogger, and speaker, she’s encouraged and challenged audiences across the country and around the world. Her latest book, While My Child is Away; Prayers for While We’re Apart is available at local retailers and online. Connect with her further at www.EdieMelson.com and on Facebook and Twitter.
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Join the conversation: What kinds of things tempt you to throw stones?