CAST THE FIRST STONE
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again, he stooped down and wrote on the ground. John 8:6-8
What was Jesus scribbling on the dry, dusty ground? Was it just a distraction moment so Jesus could gather His thoughts on responding to the men who wanted to trap Him and kill Him? I picture Jesus standing by the accused adulteress, so it could have been a pause to calm everyone, including her. The real message of this verse is who is qualified to cast stones upon another—none? Another Jesus quote comes to mind for this line of thinking—
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
I am guilty of pointing out the flaws of another when I have worse character afflictions. Yesterday I produced a video addressed to Michael Moore, the documentary film producer. The video was a rebuttal to Moore’s produced video that judged North Dakota as a frozen wasteland and the people of North Dakota as frozen hicks. I felt one judgment deserves another. I spent a lot of time on my video and, in the end, said to Mr. Moore in non-Christian speak—“Put it where the sun never shines, Michael!” I am not proud of the statement. It places me standing in the dust and holding a stone.
I find it challenging to keep up with the current world and local events; everyone is throwing stones. Liberals stone the conservative, and then the conservative casts one back. Media adds fuel to flame the fires of disdain and divisiveness. I tried to ignore this evil and found I could not escape and hide from the madness. I can move further from it, but it matters not how far into the forest I flee; this darkness finds me.
What does a man do? The tendency is to pick up a stone. We should pause, stoop down and scribble something in the sand, take a photo of a beautiful sunrise, or plant a garden. Then reflect on how we can care for our faults, reconcile our character, and provide positive reinforcement for others to drop their stones and shake hands.
In our current state of heightened belligerence and deceit, I wonder if the truth, pure truth, undeniable fact was in the middle of two people, could they agree on that truth— it appears impossible. A vast bottomless chasm of difference is between most of the world. Like the infinite universe, the gap between us is expanding exponentially.
Can two walk together unless they are agreed? ~ Amos 3:3
Must humans always be called to war? Does society have to play the blame game? Why are we called to poke fun at others, to keep them down? What good is it to play the victim? It is because of the snake—the snake bit man, infecting us with hate. Even as infants, we refuse to share, and then we become bullies in school. Then, round and round, we go pointing fingers and casting stones. It will get worse. It is all prophesied in scripture:
Know this first of all, that in the last days, mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts—2 Peter 3:3
But realize this, that in the last days, difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy,—2 Timothy 3:1-2
Then what are we as believers to do? We are to stand firm in our faith, be fishers of men, to love God and one another. We are to be disciples. We Are to pick up our cross and follow Jesus.
“Salvation is free, but discipleship costs everything we have.” Billy Graham
“Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without Christ.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer
“Discipleship is the process of becoming who Jesus would be if he were you.”―Dallas Willard.
James 5:16 – Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
Matthew 28:19 – Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
I am still figuring out the path for my discipleship, but I move ahead in faith. Discipling others is why I write these essays and post them on my website. Telling good news stories is why I make videos and post them online. Disciplining myself is my calling to photography. I know these things are of God, for I am a poor choice to do these tasks because I alone do not have the skills, but with God, all things are possible. I will strive in God’s grace to never cast stones but love others.