Cold Stones

Condemned. That is the only way to describe this woman. She has lived a life of sin, and shame and she has finally come to the end of her rope...until she stumbles into Jesus.

"Stone her!" the crowd was yelling as they surrounded her. "The law demands that she die!" she heard someone shout. She felt the sting of dirt in her eyes as she was thrown down into it. She would not cry. She would not let these people see her weakness. She covered her head with her hands, trying to shield herself from what she knew was to come. She heard someone call out to that teacher everyone had been talking about. "Teacher! This woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law says she must die!" Everyone stilled and quieted.

"What do you say, Teacher?"

Why are we so anxious to throw stones? Why do we collect them, hold tight to them, look for opportunities to hurl them?

 She saw his feet as he came to stand beside her. The embarrassment of having her sin exposed to all these people was heavy on her. Yes, she knew it was sin, but it was the only way she knew to live, the way she had been taught to live. She looked up at the faces in the crowd, spotting some of her own customers standing there, hate on their faces, ready to kill her. She lowered her head into her arms again but glanced sideways at the teacher and saw him kneel down beside her. Then he did something odd. He began to draw in the dirt. She could not see what it was he drew but he stayed there beside her for what felt like forever. People became impatient for his answer, their fingers itching to throw the cold stones in their hands. Stones of judgement. Stones of hypocrisy. Stones of hate. "What do you say Teacher?! Should we stone her?" They were so anxious to condemn her. She waited for this man to sentence her to the death she had rightfully earned. She watched as he bent and picked up a stone. He is going to throw the first one, she thought. She lowered her head into her dirty, sin stained hands...and waited. 

Then she heard him speak. 

"You want to stone her?" he said. "Fine. Whoever is without sin may throw the first stone." She looked up at him shocked at what she had just heard. Had he really just said that? He stood beside her arm outstretched, fingers wrapped around the stone he offered to the person who would claim to be sinless. There was a moment of complete stillness before she saw and heard something she would never forget, as long as she lived.

Stones began to drop. 

One by one, people began to drop their stones and walk away. She heard the thud of cold rock hitting the ground all around her. The crowd began to thin until only she and the teacher remained. She saw his rock drop in front of her and looked over to see him kneeling beside her. He looked her in the eyes when he spoke and she began to tremble at the sound of his voice. No man had ever looked her in the eyes. "Where are your accusers?" he asked softly. She looked around and saw only the group of men that followed him around, standing close to the temple wall. "There are none, my Lord." She said in a shaky voice as she looked into eyes she could not begin to fathom. Then, he stood and extended his hand to her. She timidly slipped her hand into his and he pulled her to her feet. Still looking her in the eyes, he smiled the warmest smile she had ever seen and said just as softly, "Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more." She stared at him, unable to speak, unable to move. With a gentle squeeze of her hand, he released it and turned to his followers. She looked at her hand that felt like it was on fire, then back at the man walking away. Had he just pardoned her sin? Had he just rescued her from death? This man, this teacher, he must be who he said he was. He had to be! Never had she heard such gentleness in a voice, never had she felt a touch more peaceful. Never had she seen such certainty in someone's eyes. Never had she felt so...free.

She could not explain or understand it, but somehow this man had just forgiven her...for everything and she knew she was now free. "I will follow him" she whispered, clutching the hand he had held to her chest. Tears began to fall as she held that hand close to her heart. He had saved her life and so she would serve him with hers. She turned to go back to her home and the new life she had been given and as she hurried away she was sure she heard him saying to his followers,

"I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won't have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life." 

 Stones will leave people broken and bleeding and dead every time we throw them. Forgiveness will bring healing and life every time we offer it. Lets drop our rocks and...choose life.  

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