Throwing Stones

“You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.” Anne Lamott

Many of us have felt the emotional sting of being judged.

A high school girl feels the rejection of not fitting in the “in crowd.”

A divorced person feels the shame of married friends looking at her like she is a failure.

A person of Arab descent, feels the looks of people all around him as he sits in an airport waiting to visit family.

A single mom struggling to make ends meet, her car 15 years old, clothes not the latest fashion, she notices that when she is in a crowd, she seems to be invisible.

A man struggling with addiction, has lost his family and messed up his career, is afraid to talk to anyone about his issues, for fear of being judged.

We have all felt the sting of being judged.

It is a sting that stays with us far after the judgment has been rendered.

You may feel that sting right now.

Jesus said, “I have come to save the world and not to judge it.”

Jesus knew the sting of being judged.

Jesus once spoke, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; because the judgments you give are the judgments you will get, and the standard you use will be the standard used for you.”

Have you ever judged someone because they were different than you?

Please be honest with this question.

I do not want lightning to strike while you are reading this.

A couple of years ago I was working on a weekend message at a coffee shop.

As I was working on a message that I am sure had to do with the love of God, I saw from the corner of my eye a young man walk through the doors that was tatted up, wearing skinny jeans(ouch!) and a very tight tank top.

He came strutting in like he owned the place.

I do not have an issue with tattoos, but I did not like his body language. Plus his jeans made me hurt.

I instantly identified what this kid was all about.

He was a pompous, insecure, “life is all about me” kind of guy. You could just tell.

That all came to me during the 30 seconds I looked at him standing in line to get a cup of coffee or for him probably a frappuccino.

I quickly got back to my message about God’s love.

About 5 minutes later I noticed someone standing real close to me.

I tried to ignore this someone because I was putting together a message about the love of God.

But it got a little awkward, so I looked up, and standing there was this skinny-jeaned, frappuccino loving, arrogant punk.

Great. Now what?

Before I could say anything he gently put his hand on my shoulder and said, “You are the pastor at Green Valley aren’t you?”

I didn’t think it was a trick question, so I said, “Yes I am.”

In my mind I was telling him to please hurry, I have to get this sermon on God’s love done.

He smiled and said, “I want to thank you so much for all your church does. I have lived a pretty rough life, and I found Jesus and acceptance and recovery at your church.”

He then started getting emotional, and I started feeling like a complete idiot, and he finished with, “And now I am starting to volunteer with high school students at the church helping them get on a good path, so they don’t have to experience what I have experienced.”

He thanked me again and walked off with a smile on his face.

I tell you that story to show you what a spiritual giant I truly am.

You and I were made to be in the life-saving business, not in the judging business.

The Apostle Paul once said, “Accept one another.”

Those 3 words create a very powerful sentence.

To accept someone means to be FOR THEM.

It does not mean to approve of everything they do.
It means to want what is best for them, no matter what they do.

Judging is the opposite of accepting.

A great example of Jesus accepting someone was when a woman who was caught in adultery by the religious “peeping tom” leaders wanted to kill her with stones.

They said it was Moses’ law and they needed to obey the law.

Jesus said, “That is the law, so why doesn’t the one who has never sinned throw the first stone.”

No one could throw the stone(judge), because everyone had sinned.

Let me ask you a question:
HAVE YOU EVER HELD A STONE IN YOUR HAND?

I think of myself as a pretty compassionate person, but I know I have.

Maybe that stone is:
A judgmental thought or comment about another race or culture.
A self-righteous attitude towards those who are involved in a destructive sin.
Gossiping or belittling someone who has a different political or theological view.

FACT: The energy you use holding on to the stone begins to drain the ability to love out of you heart.

It’s hard to be in the life-saving business when your heart is empty of love.

Mother Teresa once said, “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”

The scriptures say Jesus was a friend of sinners.

They liked being around him and longed for his company.

Meanwhile, legalists found him threatening and morally soft.

The legalist separated “loving God” from “loving people.”

THEY THOUGHT IT WAS POSSIBLE TO LOVE GOD and THROW STONES.

C.S. Lewis wrote, “Prostitutes are in no danger of finding their present life so satisfactory that they cannot turn to God: the proud, the judgmental, the self-righteous, are in that danger.”

Jesus said “Let him who is without sin among you throw the first stone.”

What might a family, community or our world look like if nobody were to pick up a stone?

You have any stones you need to let go of?

SHARE WITH ME SOME OF THE STONES YOU HAVE HAD TO DROP IN ORDER TO JOIN JESUS IN THE LIFE SAVING BUSINESS.

SHARE WITH ME WHAT YOU THINK OUR WORLD WOULD LOOK LIKE IF NOBODY PICKED UP A STONE.

7 thoughts on “Throwing Stones

  1. Have a lot of stones regarding my son in law who is addicted to alcohol and Meth, he keeps on relapsing. I have been judging him very harshly but I am trying to pray for him( very hard) because of all the pain he has caused my family especially my daughter. I have judged my daughter for staying ( also very hard) but I love her so much and hate to see her in pain. but I am trying to let go and let God deal with it ( also very hard) Scott gave a great message on waiting. ( impossible ) but Lessons for me to learn. I want to lay all the stones at the cross and leave them there, and stop all the anger and hate in my heart.

    • Ann, I love your honesty and your desire to trust God in all situations. Especially the ones that are most difficult. Throwing stones never helped anyone, but it doesn’t mean it is easy to drop them at the foot of the cross.

  2. As I read this, I couldn’t help but think about Jose, the Herion addict in the old garbage dump of Tijuana. We spent most of the day going between two houses being built by a group from Ohio and another one by GVCC in Placerville. Tears rolled down his face as he stopped to tell me how thankful he was that they would allow him to help. That they would chose him when there were so many to choose from. That they would entrust him with their tools as he carried them between job sites to share. That they would give him a sense of purpose and value. That they would stop to shake his hand and embrase him as a brother. Jose has not felt those things in many years and certainly nothing that felt like love. I explained to him that many of these people knew of him and have been praying for him for a long time. Imagine the impact that message had on him. So if your wondering what kind of impact it can have not to cast stones, think of Jose. And if your wondering just how far it can reach, it made one of the most powerful men in the Canyon cry today.

  3. I guess the great and wise one……..Forrest Gump…….got it wrong…….Instead of, “Sometimes, there’s just not enough rocks” should have been…..”Sometimes, you just need to put down your rocks”.

  4. I used to be that judgmental person, many rocks in my pocket. Perfect little Christian wife, mother, daughter, Aunt. Then my world was rocked by divorce and I was judged…I will never forget the feeling. I wouldn’t change that time in my life for anything because now my pockets are empty of rocks and my heart goes out to those being judged…the lessons I have learned are priceless and they have changed my heart!

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