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.”
So often, we see this verse thrown out frivolously in an attempt to avoid judgement. This verse is most often used by someone who has sinned or wronged someone and been called out. When Jesus said it, he never said the woman didn’t sin. He simply acknowledged her sin and then forgave her for it. When the men were questioning them, he knew their hearts were not about freedom and love, but about condemnation and trying to trick Jesus into saying the woman wasn’t a sinner.
Jesus knew exactly what they were trying to do and he told them to let the sinless man execute judgement knowing full well, none were without sin. Jesus told the woman He wouldn’t condemn her and to go and leave her sin behind.
Jesus acknowledged her sin and then forgave her and told her to leave and sin no more. Jesus demonstrated the path to repentance. He acknowledge the sin and told her to stop doing it. Pointing out a sin someone else commits isn’t exacting judgement, it’s giving them the opportunity to acknowledge it and repent.
If someone sins and we call it out, the hope is an apology and for them to turn from their sin. The main issue is acceptance of responsibility. Jesus never denied she had sinned and neither did she. She knew what she did was wrong and by not denying it, she admitted fault. Jesus chose to extend grace and mercy. In doing so, he let her know that she had in fact sinned, but she didn’t need to be condemned for it.
Jesus said he wouldn’t condemn her, but never said she wouldn’t face consequences. Sin has consequences just as breaking any law.
If you are speeding, you are breaking the law. The police office can acknowledge the crime by pulling you over. Then, he can point out what you did. You can admit to it or not, but after that it’s up to the decision of the police officer. He can either write a ticket, or give mercy and let you go with a warning.
Just because the police officer doesn’t pull you over or does and doesn’t give you a ticket doesn’t mean the sin didn’t exist. It simply means he decided to be merciful and let you avoid the consequences of breaking the law.
If you murdered someone, that same mercy won’t be given. That’s the difference between man and God. All sin is the same to God. Murder, speeding, stealing, all are sins. God can forgive and because of Jesus, He does for those who have received the covering of Jesus and the Blood of the Lamb is over them.
However, you could face jail time and many other options of punishment. Just because you are offered mercy and compassion doesn’t mean you won’t face consequences. Likewise, just because someone acknowledges your sin doesn’t mean they are judging you.
By William Henry