“Let the one among you who is without sin
be the first to throw a stone at her.”
John 8:1-11 tells the story of the prostitute that the Pharisees brought before Jesus to trick Him. They were eager to see how he would handle someone who had been caught in the act of adultery. Would Jesus forgive her? Would he condemn her?
Jesus throws it back at the Pharisees by recognizing that in fact – we all are sinful. So instead of condemning her, why don’t we take a look at ourselves first. It was a powerful message to everyone, even the Pharisees.
Sitting on my high horse and pointing the finger at all around me doesn’t do me any good. In fact, it does the very opposite. It takes away my chance at erasing the sin that is blocking God from entering my own heart.
As a teacher, I cannot tell you how many times a day I say to kids, “You cannot change him or her, but you can change your own actions.” I also find myself saying, “It is easy to point the blame at him or her, but what was your involvement?” I had thought it was really just today’s world, but now that I look back at this scripture, I realize it has been going on throughout all of mankind for thousands of years.
Blaming each other for situations without recognizing our own fault is a problem for everyone. I wish I could say only a few of us suffer from this syndrome, but that would be completely inaccurate. Pointing the finger at who is to blame creates a position of power. We feel we are better than others. We feel vindicated or our own sinfulness.
Jesus is telling us in this story that we need to set our own hearts right with God. Blaming others is never the solution. Finding what we could have done to make changes in our own life is always the solution.
Today, I begin my second week of online teaching. It is one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. I have to be on my game; creating new and innovative ways to teach kids that have been thrown into a stressful situation. After texting back and forth with many teacher friends in all areas of the country, I have come to realize just what Jesus taught me in this scripture. I cannot control others. I can control my actions. I cannot stress over my mistakes and try to find someone to blame. I need to use those mistakes to make my teaching methods better the next day. I cannot please everyone, and I certainly cannot stress over trying to do so. I have to find a balance between loving myself enough to realize I am human. I will falter. Jesus will be there to help me up. Most of all, I have to love myself enough to realize that blaming others will not give me hope and determination to continue. What will give me hope is recognizing my faults, allowing God’s wisdom to guide me, and praying for strength to persevere each day.