A Modern Twist on Casting StonesFriday, April 17, 2015
I have become so discouraged with the level of discourse on Twitter, Facebook and the internet in general. The anonymity of cyberspace makes the cowardly courageous and the mean spirited downright evil. I have watched with sadness as Twitter trolls have destroyed or severely damaged people who posted unfortunate or thoughtless remarks. Sometimes the venom is directed at those who simply have a sincere difference of opinion on moral issues. Recently a video went viral with ESPN reporter Britt McHenry. Her rant against an employee of a towing company was disturbing. It was particularly hard for me to hear because I am from a working class and uneducated family. I immediately found myself judging her and condemning her.
Then I stepped back and remembered a wonderful line from Pastor Tullian Tchvidjian. "We all sin and fall short of the glory of God. But that doesn't keep us from comparing distances."
That is exactly what I was doing! I was comparing distances from my own sinful judgement and comments about other people against what I was hearing in this video. At least I haven't said that! But God's Word says I am condemned when I judge, idolize, lie and covet. It doesn't matter whether it is less offensive than another person's actions. Whether I fall a bit short or a mile short is meaningless. I have fallen short. I am a desperate sinner in need of a Savior. Today I asked for the Holy Spirit to examine my heart. I am not responsible for the comments of others. I am accountable for my comments and thoughts before the One who went to Cross to win my forgiveness.
I thought about a familiar passage from the Gospel of John. What if we modified it for our culture today? I do this with the full knowledge that I many provoke the internet Christian hall monitors to judge and criticize me. But it gave me pause to think how Jesus might respond to today's condemning mob. Here is a modern version of a well known story.
A crowd soon gathered, and He (Jesus) sat down and taught them. As He was speaking, the teachers of politically correct speech brought a woman who had been caught in the act of hateful speech. They put her in front of the crowd.
“Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the very act of intolerance and hate speech. We say she should be fired, disgraced, and shunned. What do you say?”
They were trying to trap Him into saying something they could use against Him, but Jesus stooped down and looked at the device in His hand. They kept demanding an answer, so He typed a message that appeared on every device in the crowd simultaneously. They read the message on their screen. “All right, but let the one who has never unfairly judged another and who has never said an ugly untruth about another send the first Tweet!” Then he looked down and typed something else.
When the accusers read 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. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
“No, Lord,” she said.
And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Remember that every person is precious in My sight and that I loved them enough to endure the Cross. Go and sin no more.”
Forgive me for taking liberties with such an amazing text. But I think it brings it home for us that I (and you) are just like that mob who dragged the woman to Jesus.
Forgive me for my judgement of others. Forgive me for my ugly thoughts. Forgive me for my mean comments about those you love dearly. And thank you for still loving me in spite of the ugly reality of my sin. I fall on your grace today.
Thank you for loving me. Help me to love others in the power of Your Amazing Grace.