In John, chapter 8, a group of religious leaders bring a woman to Jesus. A woman, who they say, was caught committing adultery. Upon throwing her at the feet of Jesus, these religious folks appeal to the scriptures saying, according to the Law of Moses, she should be stoned. Some of them, I am sure, already have rocks in their hands.
What was true 2000 years ago, is still true today: religious folks love to the throw stones. And they love to justify it by using scripture. In fact, for many religious folks, scripture is the stone- it is the weapon they throw at people to bruise and beat them.
And here is the rub: John tells us that they were using the woman to trap Jesus in their little theological game. In their zeal for God, in the theological pursuit, in the diligently studying the scriptures… the woman is not even a consideration. She is collateral damage to prove a point.
Jesus cuts right to the heart of the problem: Religious folks are quick to the throw stones because they actually believe in their own righteousness. The religious leaders never even considered that they might be on the same playing field as the woman they threw at Jesus’ feet. She was deserving of death by stoning; they were minutes away from theological victory.
Jesus brings everyone back to reality. With a few scribbles in the sand, he reminds the religious elite of the problem with throwing rocks. If there is going to be a stoning, this woman will not be stoned alone. The gap between the religiously perfect and the sinfully faithless is not as big as it seems.
That is why I struggle with religiously zealous people who are so quick to judge and put down others, who point their fingers directly at other peoples’ sins and flaws. It is not that they may be right from time to time (she did commit adultery, after all). The problem is that they have become so blinded to their own sins/flaws they forgot which end of a stoning they belong on.
Religious folks love to throw rocks at all sorts of people/things. The problem with throwing rocks is that everyone ends up dead. So before you pick up that next rock, remember which end of a stoning you belong on. And then hear Jesus’ words, “Neither do I condemn you. Now go, and sin no more.”
Don’t throw rocks!