Here we are, on the day that the verdict was passed down regarding the Casey Anthony murder trial – possibly a trial that will go down in history alongside of the likes of the OJ Simpson trial for being so public. The verdict of “Not Guilty” was handed down by a jury of 12 people who could not convict her beyond reasonable doubt that she killed her daughter.
For the record, I don’t know if she’s guilty. The only people who apparently know for sure are her and God. That’s not what this is about.
However, this weekend during the closing arguments, then as the jury deliberated, and finally following the verdict I saw my Twitter and Facebook feed fill up with statements regarding each person’s feelings of the case and how they thought she was guilty (very few of which had any facts, apparently not much unlike the prosecution in the case). As the statements rolled up the screen, my mind raced throughout the years of seeing Christians attack one another (and even being involved in it myself) based on what they “thought” or “felt” about situations that didn’t even affect them, then my heart sunk…
In John chapter 8, we find this account in Scripture:
Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, 2 but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. 3 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.
4 “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”
6 They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. 7 They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” 8 Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.
9 When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman,“Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
11 “No, Lord,” she said.
And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”
Here is this woman caught having sex with a man who was not her husband. By the laws of the day, she could have been stoned to death. The mob was bloodthirsty and ready to take their anger out on this woman who they probably had never met. They had the spirit of “I CAUGHT HER! I CAUGHT HER! SHE’S GUILTY!” They didn’t care if it affected them… they just cared that she was guilty and they were going to get some blood.
How many times have I been the one holding the stone, ready to hurl it at someone, anyone I could catch, who, by what I saw, was guilty of the worst?
How about you?
Jesus is softly, gently reminding us – His bride, “It’s not your stone to throw.”
My friends, grace goes two ways. When Jesus has been gracious to you, forgiven you of things public and private, it’s your responsibility to pass that grace to others instead of hurling the stone.
Yes we are called to preach on sin, lead people away from destruction, and reveal what separates them from God – but only God has the right to be the judge. It’s not over until judgement day comes. Until then, hold onto hope and intercede for those you know who are living in sin that they get it to the feet of Jesus before that day so that their soul can be saved.
We often wonder with amazement what the woman felt like as people dropped their stones and walked way. But maybe it’s time we acted on an equally powerful change that happened at that moment, when we are reminded that we aren’t so great ourselves and that we do the right thing by dropping our stone, and to walk away introspectively.