Mathew 7:1-5 John 8:1-11
Have you ever found yourself in a conversation and tried to warn someone about the consequences of things they are about to do? Sometimes they misquote this passage and say that it is not for us to judge, but is that what it really says? Verse two warns us that God will judge us in the way that we judge outer people. Jesus is taking it for granted that we will judge. He is was not telling us not to judge, he was telling us how to judge. The passage tells us not to judge hypocritically.
We are to judge with mercy and not look down upon other people and their weaknesses for we ourselves have weaknesses and perhaps we are not aware of them. If we take the plank out of our own eye then we are in a better situation to help others do the same. I have found that in conversation when many Christians are talking about sin, they find that it moves into the area of what their own sin is even if those they are talking to are not aware of it and they become uncomfortable and will say, “It is not for us to Judge” in an effort to shut the conversation down and overcome their own guilt. That does not solve the problem. They need the speck in their eye removed and perhaps they need someone else to help them. Someone else with the same experience of weakness, someone who will not condemn them but get along side them, pray for them and support them
When the scribes and Pharisees brought the woman caught in adultery to Jesus they were looking for a reason to condemn him. They said that the law of Moses said that she should be stoned to death. This was a misquotation as in fact, the law did not say that only she should be put to death, it said that they should both be put to death. Where was the man who committed adultery with her? Did they fail to catch him? Did they let him go because he was one of their own? I do not know, but I do know that whoever he was, he was just as guilty as her and he was either not brought to the temple, or he was in the temple in the crowd, but not already judged and condemned as the woman was by the scribes and Pharisees.
Jesus wrote on the ground. We are not told what he wrote, but whatever it was, it was something the scribes and Pharisees could read and it would be meaningful to them and whatever it was, it was part of his answer to their question. It is speculation that he wrote down the name of the man who had committed adultery with her. If that is the case, they would have been shocked at his knowledge. Whatever he wrote, I think is terrified those who read it.
He then caused them to search their own hearts and condemn themselves by saying, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”. Jesus knew their hearts. He knew that all of them were guilty. Not one stone was thrown. Jesus was exposing the planks in their eyes and helping the woman remove the speck from hers. They all left and when Jesus asked did no one condemn you? She was able to say, “No one Lord”. Can you imagine how relieved she was when he said, “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more”.
That woman was dragged to the temple expecting to be stoned to death. Instead of her astonishment she received mercy and I believe far from being put to death, she received a new life. Can you imagine what her testimony would be like as she told people what happened to her and that they should trust in Jesus as well and receive mercy from him? She would have no idea that we would still be reading and talking about her two thousand years later and learning about Gods love and mercy and his righteous judgment. We are to reflect that in the way we judge others. Let us judge as God has charged us to do, to judge with Mercy.