“Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7
There was a boy who came to camp one summer from a group home. He was small for his age, but made up for it by being loud, aggressive and confrontational. He would pick on other kids and cause fights. Nothing his counselor said or did could control his behavior. Finally, emotionally exhausted and tired of the daily confrontations, the counselor brought him to me.
In our conversation, it came out that the boy was angry at the counselor. Not because the counselor was mean, but he thought him too soft. The boy didn’t think the counselor could protect him from the other campers. To protect himself, he thought he would hit others before they hit him. It turned out in the group home, all the older boys picked on him and hit him. The source of his behavior was not anger, but fear.
We were able to persuade the boy to trust his counselor. The counselor could protect him from being hit. The change in the boy was radical. He actually became one of the summers’ most enjoyable campers.
I found the encounter an amazing window into the nuances of human behavior. People who hate being hit often end up hitting others. The people who hate gossip are typically the biggest gossips. Those who hate being judged tend to be the biggest critics of others. We do this out of a twisted sense of protection.
In today’s reading, a woman caught in adultery captures the depth of human vulnerability and weakness. Her sin is public and has a clear definition of punishment. There is no one to stand in the way of her death. Except the scribes and Pharisees get a little carried away with their judgment. They bring the woman to Jesus to trap him into punishment, as well. Instead, the judgment they cast out is returned upon them. Yet, it’s interesting how Jesus’ judgment does not involve stones or fire. Only words and life. I find it reminds me to put my stones away and choose life.
Click to read: John 8: 1-11
- Have you ever quoted John 8:7? If so, when?
- Where do you find yourself treating others in a way you do not like to be treated?
- What is the reason for this behavior and how might it change?
- How does the judgment of God produce life?
Photo courtesy of Unsplash.com