70 degrees and sunshine. Perfect weather for November. I knew I couldn’t waste what could be our last beautiful fall day before winter crept in. So, I spent the afternoon walking, swinging in the hammock and finally landed beside the fire-less fire pit. I was scribbling with a stick in the sand when the story from God’s word about the woman caught in adultery came to my mind.
“Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, making her stand in the center. “Teacher,” they said to him, “this woman was caught in the act of committing adultery. In the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?”
They asked this to trap him, in order that they might have evidence to accuse him. Jesus stooped down and started writing on the ground with his finger. When they persisted in questioning him, he stood up and said to them, “The one without sin among you should be the first to throw a stone at her.”
Then he stooped down again and continued writing on the ground. When they heard this, they left one by one, starting with the older men. Only he was left, with the woman in the center.”—John 8:3-9 (CSB)
As I wrote in the sand that afternoon, I whispered to God wondering what He wrote in the sand. And I got this feeling that He wrote the sins of the ones so eager to condemn the woman. I heard Him whisper to my heart; I want you to be a sand writer not a stone thrower. Before you judge him or condemn her, write your sins in the sand.
Romans 3 tells us we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. And Luke 2 reminds us that the good news of Jesus is for ALL people. So why is it we are so eager to pick up stones to throw at our neighbors? We are not righteous in and of ourselves. If there is any righteousness in us, it’s because of the blood of Jesus Christ. Our righteousness is as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6) But yet, so often, we’re guilty of throwing stones.
Truth is, I think we like to hide behind the sins of our neighbors so that our hiddenness stays hidden. If we draw attention to theirs, maybe the world won’t notice ours. And that works with the world for a while, but it doesn’t work with Jesus.
Cassie, why are we talking about our sins and condemnation at Christmas? I’m so glad you asked. It was a baby named Jesus born on Christmas a couple thousand years ago that came to deliver us from our sin.
John 3 says that Jesus did not come to condemn the world but through Him the world might be saved. Delivered, freed from our sin and shame. And it is for everyone. Not just the ones we “think” deserve it. Lord, teach me to write in the sand. To love my neighbor. To pray for them, encourage them, and share you with them.
Friend, love is the answer. Love came to free you. And if you have given your life to Jesus, love did free you.
We are not God. We don’t get to throw stones. So before you pick up another stone, take a moment to reflect and write in the sand.
Merry Christmas. May the God of all peace and love rule your hearts this season and beyond.
Cassie Downs, formerly of the Ellsinore area, is a speaker and the author of Chasing Jesus. Connect with her online at cassiedowns.com. Her book is available online where most books are sold.