Some time ago, I was driving in a city where I was not familiar with the streets.
As I readied to move my car into the left lane, I saw in the side mirror a car approaching in that lane. I quickly corrected in order to not sideswipe the car on my left. The person in the car that I almost sideswiped was far from happy with me. He laid on his horn like it was an emergency, made every gesture conceivable, and mouthed words.
“I do not deserve this rude behavior. I saw him in plenty of time,” I determined, miserable commiserating thoughts swirling in my head. “I would like to give him a piece of my mind. He threw ‘stones’ at me; now it is my turn to throw ‘stones’ back at him.”
I strongly desired retaliation.
Wrong! Stop! Stop! I am fully aware that “stone throwing” was not God’s way. He does not make allowance for retaliation regardless of who is in the right or who is in the wrong.
I decided to do it God’s way.
This incident reminded me of a story in John 8:1-11. As Jesus was speaking to a crowd, he was interrupted by a group of Jewish leaders and Pharisees. They brought to him a woman who they caught in the act of adultery.
“Kill her,” the group said, citing Moses’s law. “What do you say, Jesus?”
After a moment, he said, “All right, hurl stones at this woman until she dies. But only the one who never sinned may throw the first stone.”
One by one, the stone throwers dropped their stones and walked away until it was just Jesus and the woman. Jesus didn’t condemn her, but told her with a heart of love to go and sin no more.
This was a married woman who had met another man. He had noticed her; she had noticed him. It was very innocent at first; then the relationship grew exponentially. They eventually crossed the line until their relationship became a full-blown affair. She was caught in the act of adultery by Jewish leaders and Pharisees, who then wrapped her up in sheets and led her off to Jesus.
“She deserves stoning; the law mandates it,” her accusers said to Jesus.
In the same way, if we are not on the alert, we can walk through our day carrying “stones” in our hands.
Some “stones” are identified as people judging us for our differences; people who speak rudely to us, who lie to or about us, who cheat or steal from us. This list goes on and on. “Throwing stones” happens in families, at the workplace, in the school, on the street, anywhere.
The fact remains, we can carry “stones” and are often on the ready to “throw” them. These “stones” are hurtful for the person receiving the “stone” and are hurtful to the one throwing the “stone”. Further pain and suffering emanate as a result.
The Apostle Paul states in 1 Corinthians 13:4-5: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy nor boast, is not proud. It does not dishonor others, not self-seeking, not easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs.” These verses plainly avow: Treat others with love, patience, kindness, and respect in every situation.
So when a strong desire to “stone” someone arises, in its place apply a measure of love, patience and kindness just as Jesus did with the adulteress woman.
Drop the “stone”.
Donna Hubbard is a member of Life Church 7 in Richland. Questions and comments should be directed to editor Lucy Luginbill in care of the Tri-City Herald newsroom, 333 W. Canal Drive, Kennewick, WA 99336. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org.