Cast The First Stone.
Late last year I was approached about being an elder at my church. Over the first half of this year I began the process. Through this process I was asked some really tough questions. Honestly, I felt that many of these questions were things that all of us as Christians should be able to answer. In the course of the interviews a conversation arose about dealing with the confrontation of sin.
The discussion was good and hearing some of the things elders have to pray over, I felt extremely small and unworthy… I still do! One thing I am sure of is that sin causes huge complicated problems and there aren’t always short contrite Christian-isms that are so insightful that a person will leave with those encounters “changed forever”. In fact I am sure that my words have very little impact in the breadth and depth of eternity. The life disasters that are a result of sin are sometimes so exhaustively woven that a simple conversation has no hope of even starting to find the “end” to help unravel it…. This just hurts my brain even thinking about it. More than that, it hurts my soul to see people I care deeply about, suffer at the consequences of the complicated sin paths they have laid for themselves.
I am reminded of a story about Jesus in John 8 where he encounters a woman about to be stoned for adultery. She is brought before Jesus by religious leaders hoping to trap Him. They outline her sins before Jesus and they point out what the Law says to do with an adulterer, which would be stoning. Jesus responded with a very famous and profound statement “He who is without sin, cast the first stone”. Of course this stops everyone in their tracks and they all leave. Jesus is left with the woman and tells her “Neither do I condemn you: go and sin no more”.
I have found that we SO easily jump on the condemnation wagon. We grab our stones and we start to aim and many many times let those stones fly… figuratively. We cast words of condemnation and try to force our way into those we are condemning in some twisted effort to be the Holy Spirit of conviction. I have done this. I know I have.
In reviewing my Christian walk, the Lord has brought me to a different place. A place where I am reminded of the time where my cold heart was pierced with conviction, where my dead spirit was quickened by the Holy Spirit to life and where my wants became hates and my hates became wants… the place is repentance and the message is the gospel of Jesus Christ. What do we do when we encounter those deep in sin? Remember the gospel and share it. We cannot unravel the complicated chem trails of sin, we can only cry with them, pray with them, walk by them and remind them of the beautiful gospel. We can tell of how we were once lost but now found because what I do know is that people, who have come to know the gospel, sometimes need to be reminded of the time that their cold hearts were pierced, their spirits made alive and their desires mortified and rebuilt. People that have never heard this? Well, they need the exact same thing! When we are reminded of what we were saved from, it is so much easier to lay down those stones of condemnation and pick up the comforting robes of love. For we know what love is, that while we were STILL SINNING, or like this woman in John 8 "caught in the act", Christ died for us!
SOLI DEO GLORIA!!!