It’s easy to judge others harshly for their sins, while soft peddling our own. I’ve carried around shame inflicted by condemners, and I’ve been a condemner a few times too! However, we were not given the authority to condemn. That’s Gods job. It also means we don’t really have the authority to internalize the shame others can inflict.
In the verses below, Jesus is with a group of sinners. He is the only one with the moral high ground. He is the only one with the right to condemn, but He doesn’t.
“As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.
“Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”
“….Let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!…”
When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one…until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
“No, Lord,” she said.
And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more” (John 8: 3-12).
Can you imagine how free this woman must have felt? Love and acceptance have a way of melting away guilt and shame; while condemnation and criticism have a way of escalating them.
Stone throwers expose their own hearts. The stones they throw at you may as well be their own guilt and shame hurled at you in an attempt to make themselves feel morally superior.
Don’t accept graceless condemnation with no correction from sinners. Let go of the shame they try to inflict, and lay it at the feet of Jesus who has the authority to take away our sins.
Jesus, who was without sin:
- Accepted this woman when everyone else left her.
- Did not condemn her.
- Forgave her.
- Corrected her by telling her to go and sin no more.
He saw her. He cared about her, deeply. He wanted her to be a better person. Her accusers (who were also full of sin) wanted to stone her to death.
The only one worthy enough to throw stones, is the only one that doesn’t.
“So now there is no condemnation (or shame) for those who belong to Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).
1. Have I been carrying around shame inflicted by someone else? An example might be a friend, co-worker or family member.
2. Can I begin to lay that shame at Jesus’ feet and ask Him to heal it?