January 07, 2019

Throw Away the Stone

John 8:1-11

“Where are [your accusers]? Has no one condemned you? . . . Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

—  John 8:10-11

We are often drawn in to lifelike stories about tragedy, love, and heroism, and we tend to hope for a happy ending. Our imaginations fire up with the plot’s twists and turns. We don’t like it when a character is treated unfairly, and we smile when justice is served. We walk away satisfied when the tale has ended well.

Stories in real life, though, can work out a little differently. I don’t know who the adulterous woman in this story was, or where her story started, but I am pretty sure she didn’t want to be dragged into a pub­lic square and threatened with execution. Having your faults exposed for everyone to see is not something any of us wants in our life story. It is easy to judge others and find fault with them, but then Jesus, who is there listening, speaks up.

In that moment of telling those who are without sin to throw a stone, Jesus reminds us that we are all sinners and that this woman represents us. Only Jesus has the right to throw a stone, and he chooses not to. Instead, he chooses to use grace and forgiveness. Jesus asks that each of us throw away our stones and follow his example.

Dear God, remind us today that our task is not to judge others but instead to offer people your forgiveness. Help us all to accept your offer of forgiveness and begin living a new story. For Jesus’ sake, Amen.

About the author — Beth Fellinger

Pastor Beth Fellinger is a wife, mother, and grandmother who has more than 40 years of experience in pastoral ministry. She and her husband, Barry, have created a missional community in their neighborhood called the Ugly Couch Cafe. From serving coffee at a blue picnic table on their front lawn, to praying with neighbors, to hosting faith gatherings on a weekly basis, the Ugly Couch Cafe has grown—and nothing gives Beth greater joy than introducing people to Jesus.

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