When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, ‘Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.’ And once again he bent down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders; and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus straightened up and said to her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ She said, ‘No one, sir.’ And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.’
Reflection by Janet Derby
Too often we view the world as “Us” and “Them”. We do this for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, it is fear. Other times, we simply want to make ourselves feel better by comparison. Still other times, we are envious or holding on to past hurts. It can harm relationships, prevent community, and in extreme cases, cause irreparable damage. Such was the case this week in Christchurch, New Zealand. Once again, someone who viewed people as “others” went on a deadly rampage.
In this passage, I think Jesus manages to get the accusers to examine themselves and recognize that there is no “Us” and “Them”, only “Us”. Once we understand that we all fall short, we no longer condemn others.
Merciful God, help us all to recognize each other’s humanity. May it lead to peace and understanding in this broke world. Amen.