Well friends…I’m back at it. Well not 100% but I am at least upright again. Still mostly on the couch but feeling way better than I was. Thank you for your prayers and good wishes.
We are on to John Chapter 8 and a story called To Throw the Stone. This is another short story that you are probably already familiar with. Again I caution you in reading through it too quickly. Instead I would like you to read it today with a clear head – as if you were hearing the words for the first time. See how they sink in and touch you where you are at in life at this very moment. Personally that’s the part I like best about reading stories in the Bible. What you read today will touch you in a new way when you read it a month from now! Always relevant.
Jesus went across to Mount Olives, but he was soon back in the Temple again. Swarms of people came to him. He sat down and taught them. The religion scholars and Pharisees led in a woman who had been caught in an act of adultery. They stood her in plain sight of everyone and said, “Teacher, this woman was caught red-handed in the act of adultery. Moses, in the Law, gives orders to stone such persons. What do you say?” They were trying to trap him into saying something incriminating so they could bring charges against him.
Let’s talk today about shadows…the beautiful ones. The shadows that are created when light hits an object at just the right moment. That moment in time won’t be the same a minute after and was different a minute before. It’s how it’s captured at the very moment you see it with your eyes. Like in the photo someone sent of the shadow in the field. It is actually a photograph of people that are taking the picture of their own shadows. It’s a gorgeous mixture of everything God created mixed into one! The warm sunshine, green trees and tilled field of a farm, God’s precious children, and the dark shadows of those children.
Each of us has a dark shadow of ourselves, because we are human. And ever since Eve chose to eat that apple in the garden we have had to fight that shadow side ever since. Most don’t want to talk about their shadow sides. Some like to even go so far as pretend they don’t have one. But we do. We ALL do.
It was 1980 something and I was running around playing by myself in my living room. I remember the brown carpet, the tall ceilings, and the big window looking out at the front yard. That’s when it happened. My mom’s blue stained-glass angel somehow found it’s way onto the floor and was in pieces. To this day I cannot tell you how it happened. I just remember vividly that I did it and I was terrified I was going to be in trouble. So I left it exactly where it fell behind the table.
I’m not sure when she noticed it. Could’ve been that day or days later. But she did and I remember her asking me what happened? I pretended not to know and I distinctly remember telling her it must’ve been the dog.
In full disclosure my mom reads this blog and I’ve never told her this story. I am very sorry mom for breaking your angel, for lying to you all these years, and for blaming our innocent dog!
Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger in the dirt. They kept at him, badgering him. He straightened up and said, “The sinless one among you, go first: Throw the stone.” Bending down again, he wrote some more in the dirt.
That woman brought in front of Jesus could’ve been me and my 8 year old self. I could’ve been the one waiting for the firing squad of stones to be thrown at me for my sins. Don’t think this is silly. This is truth. We all sin. We all find ourselves in place of the woman in this story. We all do things we may not first have thought about before doing. But we do them. It’s like the shadow. Our beautiful God created self, and the dark shadow of ourself that is our sin.
Hearing that, they walked away, one after another, beginning with the oldest. The woman was left alone. Jesus stood up and spoke to her. “Woman, where are they? Does no one condemn you?”
“No one, Master.”
“Neither do I,” said Jesus. “Go on your way. From now on, don’t sin.”
Now THAT is the beautiful part of your shadow side. Jesus is right there not to condemn you for it but to forgive you for it. He’s there to tell you to move on with your life – that he still loves you the same.
I wish I could tell you that was the final time I sinned back when I was eight but it wasn’t. Unfortunately I’m still finding ways to sin today…SO MANY years later! What can we learn from this story then? We can stop throwing stones at others for what we think they are or are not doing. It is not ours to judge them for. Because if we really look closely at our own lives we will see that we are the ones that also belong in the middle of the circle waiting for the first stone to hit us.
Jesus doesn’t want us to sit inside that circle. He wants to forgive us and he wants us to move on and do more good instead. He wants us to step out of that shadow side of us and stand in the glorious light of his love!