In college, I had this friend who was in a fraternity. He was notorious for being the “life of the party” at any social, formal, or party. In class one day, he told me that after his weekend of heavy partying, he woke up in the morning to find himself naked in the middle of a sorority house across the street from his fraternity. What started as bragging, became a confession. His voice changed and I could see guilt, shame, and regret written all over his face.
My outward appearance showed little interest, but in my heart, I was casting stones.
“Are you kidding me?”
“How could you do something so degrading?”
“Where is your heart at, man?”
“And you call yourself a Christian…”
I was so concerned with his heart when I should have been looking at my own.
What right do I have in playing judge and jury? What right did I have in casting stones?
The Pharisees thought because their outward behavior was “more righteous” than that of a sinner, they were better people, more holy, and held in higher esteem. So when these pious Pharisees brought a woman caught in committing adultery to the town square, they thought their condemnation and pride was justified.
“Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” (John 8:4-5)
I could hear my own words echoing their plea. And I could hear Jesus whispering to my heart. “Tucker the Pharisee, what are you really seeking? Proof you’re the better person? Adoration for your behavior? Acknowledgment?”
In my heart, when I was sitting next to that friend in class, I was devaluing him for what he had done and put myself on a pedestal. I wasn’t just casting stones, but reaching back and throwing as hard as I could at that guy.
But that’s not Jesus.
With the woman caught in adultery, Jesus was the only one who had a right to cast any condemnation, cast any judgment. Yet instead, He defends her. He defends us! He defends us in our shame, our addiction, our pain, our suffering. Jesus stands up for us with a quiet grace and protects us with His love and compassion.
We all are broken; we have all sinned and fallen short (see Romans 3:23). So who are we to condemn, to accuse?
The only one who has the right shows no condemnation when we bring ourselves before Him. Instead, He tells us to “go and sin no more” (John 8:11). He invites us to walk with Him and come to know His forgiveness, grace, and love. We don’t have to live up to any law; we get to walk with Jesus.