John 8:7 King James Version
7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
Jesus was responding to the religious leaders of the day, known as Pharisees and scribes. These leaders were greatly feared because of the power they held in their community. No one dared stand up against them for fear of retaliation and excommunication. Also present were the people who had built their community on suspicion and accusations against the weak and vulnerable. In effect this was a society of bullying. They judged quickly and without compassion. Jesus challenged this cultural norm.
At this stage of His ministry He was considered to be a wise and respected member of the community by most people; However the Pharisees wrongly judged Him, and considered Him their enemy. When they questioned Him about the woman caught in adultery they were baiting Him and He knew it. They were blinded in their darkness and categorized another’s sin as being worse than their own. Today the same attitude is in those who are modern day Pharisees.
We need to be led by the Holy Spirit in all ways so that we do not judge with our own prejudice. We must first look in our heart and judge our own attitude. Much harm has been done down through the ages by well-meaning and not so well-meaning believers simply because of the attitude of their heart toward others. The bible is very specific about judging and how and who we, as believers are to judge. God told Moses to judge the people and then the Lord gave Jethro, Moses’ father in law, the wisdom to delegate authority to leaders to be judges of the people. It tells us in God’s word that all authority is appointed by God. That is why we have the police and court judges who are appointed to make rulings in criminal cases. Can you imagine the lawlessness if we didn’t have these people in place?
The bible also refers to believers looking at the fruit of other believers and judging the fruit. We are to do so in the love of God and in the light of His word. The bible is very clear about sinning and what it is. God’s heart is more after the heart of the sinner than He is their particular sin. We have the opportunity to approach sinners, who are just like ourselves, with the attitude of love and acceptance without compromising our own beliefs. In gaining their trust we will be allowed to speak into their lives with openness and honesty by the leading of the Holy Spirit. It is never about us or what we think. It is always about God’s judgment in His word. Our focus should be so totally on the Lord and what He is doing that we are not concerned about judging others. We then can be the eyes and ears of God that reach out and love people out of their sin.
Challenge: Listen to your tone when you are speaking about someone’s sin and then look in the mirror. Recognize that we are all under God and not above anyone. Look at the sin of others in the light of your own sins.