Casting Stones

I'd like to think I am a religious woman, but I try NOT to preach. (Unless I am asked to do so; and I'll admit that I've been asked to do so several times at my church and I've loved doing it.  Not just the standing up and speaking, but the whole process which has been enlightening for me.)  Yet here I am ready to start off a blog post with a quote from John 4:  4-11. (This is taken from the Revised Standard Version, which I find easiest to understand.)  "they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” This they said to test him that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10 Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more."

How easy it is for us to judge; to cast our own stones, even when we do not have the full story.  In a fast paced world, it is easier to just condemn than to research and find out the whole tale.  It is bad enough that we feel that we are "sinless" enough to cast stones, but to cast stones based on limited information is even worse.  Jesus concludes with "Go, and from now on sin no more," but what if the woman had not been caught in the act of adultery?  What if she had only been accused of adultery or some other "crime"?

In America we claim that all parties are innocent until PROVEN guilty.  How valid is that claim?  How quickly do we condemn someone based on what we heard or read?   How often do we remember that just because we read something on the internet does not mean it's true? Trust me Bill Gates is NOT giving away millions of dollars just because you liked his post on Facebook.  (Although it hurt me more to find out that Barefoot Winery was NOT giving away free cases of wine.)

We need to do our research before we even THINK about making a judgement.  If I say John Doe is a lush and was arrested for drunk driving, does that make it true?  (I'd tell you I am a trustworthy source, but I'd also respect you for doing due diligence and finding supporting evidence to my words.)  Was this reported in other outlets? Was there an arrest report?  And if so what was the result/conclusion.  (Yes, it is possible to be pulled over for drunk driving and NOT be guilty of it.)

I was recently called for (petit) jury duty and was reminded as a juror that I MUST presume innocence until guilt had been proven to me beyond a shadow of a doubt.  If only we did that in our daily lives; if we stopped condemning until we had ALL the facts; if we took the time to find out the details and came to an educated conclusion.  Imagine what a better world this could be if we only TRIED to do this.

Before you make that next condemnation, are you willing to stop and think as to whether you have all the relevant information before you cast your stone?


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