Have you ever been around someone who smelled really bad? You know that just-worked-out-sweaty-teenage-boy-locker-room type smell?
The only thing worse is being around the person who smells, but doesn’t know it. They have become immune to their own stench.
Likewise, I think each one of us can easily become immune to our own sin. Sure, we can easily point it out when we see it in others, but when it comes to our own lives we rationalize, downplay, and even excuse our own imperfections.
It’s much easier to cast stones at other’s sin than to confront our own sin.
Just like we all need a daily shower to clean off the filth, each of us need a daily acknowledgement of our own sin and shortcomings. Rest assured, if you have been saved by Jesus, He has cleansed you of ALL your sin (1 John 1:7). There’s no need to be saved again, but there is immense value in recognizing we all stink it up and desperately need His grace in our lives (Romans 5:21).
As Jesus put it, “He who is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone” (John 8:7b).
If I take Jesus seriously, I am to lay down my stones. This is only possible when I realize that my purpose is not to throw stones at people. My purpose is to love and lead others to the life-giving relationship that is found in Christ.
Easier said than done right?
Here are three things we must put in check if we are going to lay down our stones.
1. Check Your Attitude.
Your attitude is a powerful influence on your actions. Do you have an attitude of helping others or hurting others?
By checking our attitude, we’re realigning our hearts to care about the things God cares about. It was the crowd who white knuckled their stones as they hurled insults at the adulterous woman. It was Jesus who stooped down to her level to be with her in the moment. He displayed a humble atttidute.
2. Check Your Motive.
The Pharisees weren’t seeking justice when they threw the adulterous woman in front of Jesus. We know this because they didn’t bring the man.
They weren’t motivated by righting a wrong. They were motivated by their hatred for Jesus and this woman became a pawn in their evil chess game.
Jesus, motivated by love and compassion, saw the heart of the matter. He was moved toward deeper truths like: people matter more than problems; shame is never beneficial; humility fosters hope in others.
3. Check Your Self.
I’ve always found it interesting that Jesus was technically giving the Pharisees permission to cast stones at the woman. He only had one requirement. Check your self first.
One by one the Pharisees began to leave because through self examination they realized they had no basis to throw stones.
Checking your self first does that.
It causes you to remember your own sin, and your own need for a Savior. If Christ has saved us by His free grace then we have every reason to lay down our stones.
Next time your locked and loaded and ready to fire deadly stones at someone, remember to check your attitude, check your motive, and most importantly check your self!