An old cartoon shows a man enthusiastically talking with the pastor after the service, “You really told them today, Pastor!”
We feel a bit smug when people who are too quick to condemn and too slow to try to understand another are put in their place. This story about Jesus and a woman caught in adultery shouldn’t give us an excuse for smugness.
Lent is a time for self-examination, not for judging others. This story raises questions. At whom am I too quick to hurl stones? What sin causes me to want to rush to judgment about someone else without trying to see others as Jesus sees them? How often have I been forgiven and yet go back and do that same thing again?
However, when we’ve asked and faced such questions honestly, let’s not start hurling stones at ourselves. Lent is not just about turning away from harmful ways. It is also about turning toward the way of Jesus with new questions.
How can I be more loving, more understanding, to those who trouble me? What does Jesus see in me that I need to see in myself? How can I forgive and encourage myself as Jesus does?
Forgiving God, as I read this story prayerfully, help me to learn from it. Amen. — KW