Do you judge others or do you show them the love and grace of the Lord? It is something we all struggle with and it is always a choice. We choose to judge or we choose to lavish others with the love and grace we have received from the Lord.
We had a wonderful book club discussion this week at Grace Anglican Community based on the book “Dropping Your Rock” by Nicole Johnson. The book is based on the story of the woman who was caught in the act of adultery and what Jesus had to say about it.
3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst4 they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. 5 Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” 6 This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7 And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9 But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10 Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”
If we found ourselves in Jesus’ position, how would we have responded? We find ourselves in similar positions each day when we hear that someone has done something they shouldn’t have done. How do we choose to respond? Are we more inclined to feel the need ‘to put people in their places’ or to ‘teach them a lesson’ than we are to show them love and grace?
We tend to be more judgmental of others whose sin is different than our sin. We may judge someone who has been caught in adultery harsher than we would someone who gossips or is very prideful – things we are all guilty of doing. The consequences of sin are different, but in the eyes of the Lord, sin is sin.
We also tend to judge others more harshly than we would want to be judged and more harshly than we would want one of our loved ones to be judged. What if the woman at the well was our son, daughter, brother or sister? Would we want compassion to be shown to them by others? Those who are in the body of Christ are our brothers and sisters and we need to show them compassion. Those who are not in the body of Christ need our compassion even more. If we, who are in the body of Christ, don’t show love and grace to those outside the body, how will they see the love and grace of God in the world?
2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.
We are not to judge others because we will be judged by the same measuring stick we use to judge them. Jesus was the only one who was without sin and the only one who was able to judge the adulterous woman. He was the only one who could have chosen to throw the rock, but He didn’t. Instead He choose to show her love and grace.
“Our rocks will never change the world, only pockmark it with hate and fear.”1 We always leave a mark when we interact with others. Are you leaving a pockmark of hate and fear or are you leaving the beautiful mark of love and grace behind? Remember, it is always a choice. Choose to show others love and grace today!