A little over seven years ago I experienced a complete shift in my Christian life. Although I knew about the Grace of God, I began a journey to really understand God’s Grace. I once believed that God could not look at sin, but now know that is not true. Consider the first thing God did when Adam and Eve sinned. Did He withdraw Himself or did He come to them? God did not withdraw Himself; it was man who hid from God. When Jesus, who was God, came to earth who did He hang out with? The sinners! How could God hang out with sinners if He can’t stand to be around sin? I have learned that God’s view of man has never changed, but rather there was a change in man’s perspective toward God. Adam was the one who was afraid. Adam’s perspective of God had changed. Instead of looking forward to visiting with God, Adam was now afraid. If only Adam knew how much he was loved. Unfortunately, there are Believers today who teach that people need to fear God instead of telling people how much they are loved.
The reality is that God really, really loves us and He always has. The truth is that God loved us before Jesus came to earth. When Jesus came to earth, His primary goal was not to restore us to God, but to change our minds about who God is and what His character is like. Think about this: the only people who were afraid of Jesus were the religious. The prostitutes and sinners weren’t afraid of Him, little children definitely were not afraid of Him. I think that should say something to us. The religious preach “be afraid”, but the real message of the Gospel is that God is – LOVE!
It is no secret that one of the things that ticks me off the most is Christians who are always pointing out sin. They want you to feel guilty and condemned enough that you will turn from your wicked ways and give your life to Christ. My mom taught me a valuable lesson about this. She said look at your pointing finger and remember that you have three pointing back at you. Those words are inspirational!
The religious scribes and Pharisees should have taken my mother’s advice. They are pointing the finger at a woman caught in adultery and bring her to Jesus. “The Law commands us to stone such women; what do you say?” they asked Jesus. At first Jesus ignores them. This question is not worthy of a response, but they persistently keep nattering at Jesus. Finally, Jesus responds that the one who is without sin can cast the first stone. Oh, these religious men wanted to throw stones at her that day, but one by one they turned and walked away.
Throwing stones is a picture of throwing the Law at the offender. Every time you threw a stone you threw the guilt and condemnation of the Law at the person. Each stone represented their sin and the person would die under guilt and condemnation. The person being stoned would see the guilt being thrown at him and try and protect himself from the stones, but there was no escape.
What Jesus did for this woman caught in adultery was amazing! He protected her from the stones. He protected her from the Law. Jesus extended love and grace, where the religious leaders brought condemnation and fear. Did you get that? Jesus desires for you to experience His love, and not fear.
Jesus gave us a perfect example of the message we need to demonstrate. That instead of throwing the stones of guilt and condemnation, we would rather show love and extend grace. That’s the example I want to follow. I know a lot of Believers will not agree and over-react, but isn’t that exactly how the religious leaders of Jesus’ day reacted to Jesus? It doesn’t take courage to throw stones of condemnation. It takes courage to do as Jesus did, face the condemners, take the side of the guilty and say, “I don’t condemn you.”