My stomach was sick. I couldn’t control my thinking. My mind was pinballing all over the inside of my skull as I played and replayed the events of our days…and the dissonance of the cultural commentary (both verbally and in action) that often accompanies those who carry the image of Christ in their hearts.
It just seems like the task of being God’s ambassadors of peace and healing in an obviously hurting and broken world, continues to be made more difficult by some, even many, claiming to be His people.
They just sound and act so different from how I think Jesus would be, if he were here, in person.
As a matter of fact, one of my deepest frustrations comes from knowing that, according to his promises, he IS here. In person. In the hearts and minds of each of his own. Yeesh.
Why’s he not doing a better job?
Anyway, fueled with my morally and spiritually superior attitude, and determined to wake up this morning and let my keystrokes dole out verbal discipline, in the same manner of Jesus overturning the tables in the temple courtyard, a funny thing happened.
I woke up with the weight of my own miserable failings. Instead of the story of Jesus overturning the tables, my morning music was a different tune. The one where Jesus knelt in the dirt.
You remember it. The story about when the Pharisees (the ones with the morally and spiritually superior attitude) drug the whore into temple courtyard, hoping for Jesus to condemn her the same way they were condemning her.
Talk about turning the tables upside down! After drawing something in the dirt, Jesus spoke words of truth that have moved real disciples to near hyper-ventilation for 2000 years.
“Which ever one of you is without sin, you throw the first stone.”
One by one, each one of the Pharisees (the religious smug) walked away, because at least they had enough self-awareness to know their lives were not without sin. They knew who they were.
Last night, I lost sight of who I am. This morning I remembered.
Pointing out the sins of those who ride righteous high-horses should never be done by one who is also riding a righteous high-horse. I woke up ready to do the very thing I was going to call out others for doing. Whoa. Talk about a contradiction!
I know we are to call out sin. I know we are to be light in darkness. I know we are to warn people of the dangers of the path they are traveling. But none of us will truly ever be without sin. All of us are Pharisees of one kind or another. None of us is “good” enough to pass judgment on another. And maybe that’s a good thing.
The only way to “cast a stone” (render judgment, throw criticism, project superiority, communicate my way is better than your way, etc…) is by being armed with the awareness that my sin, my weakness, my hypocrisy, my pride, my lack of love, my moral and spiritual superiority, is just as bad as yours.
And that changes everything. At least it should.
It keeps the playing field level. It keeps my criticism from ever going overboard. It keeps my heart from growing hard. It keeps me from ever thinking I’m better than you. It keeps humility in the forefront and pride pushed to the rear. It puts me in a position to be part of the solution, instead of perpetuating another problem. It communicates grace, love, mercy, and hope…instead of judgment, fear, and exclusion.
It helps tear down walls, instead adding more bricks and more mortar.
Funny. It’s pretty much impossible to cast stones at Pharisees, without becoming one.