Stone Throwing 101

stone throwingby The Mad Preacher

When they kept on questioning him [Jesus], he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:7 NIV) [1]

“By nature Christians are the most forgiving, understanding and thoughtful group of people I’ve ever dealt with. They never assume the worst at the get-go, they appreciate the importance of having different perspectives, they’re slow to anger, quick to forgive and almost never make rash judgments or act in anything less than a spirit of total love. No, wait — I’m thinking of Labrador retrievers.” —David Learn [2]

Famed atheist, Madelyn O’Hare, once said, “The church is the only army that buries its wounded.” Boy, do I relate to that! I’ve been buried so many times that they’re thinking about naming a coffin after me.”

Like many of my brothers and sisters in Christ, I’ve often been the target of someone throwing stones. I’ve been judged unfit for the ministry because of past indiscretions by some family members and some whom I thought were my friends. I even had one pastor tell me that I couldn’t be on his staff because I was overweight. I’ve been labeled and summarily dismissed because of my church affiliation, my secondary theology, or even because of the version of the Bible I use.

Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. (Romans 14:4)

There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor? (James 4:12)

The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. (1Peter 4:7-8)

It’s amazing how many of us who claims to be a Christian, who asserts to be students of the God’s Word, ignore passages like these. It’s either gross disobedience, biblical ignorance, self-imposed blindness or a combination of them all that causes us to disregard God’s directives about how we are to treat each other.

You who brag about the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? (Romans 2:23)

I remember the first time I experience the pain of stones bouncing off my head. I was a young preacher and the stones came in the form of rejection from my denominational brothers in the ministry. The only ones to stand by me in those early days were my pastor and my father. Dad asked me to fill his pulpit at the church he pastored while he was recuperating from major surgery?  The deacons opposed my Dad about the idea and so my preaching career at that church lasted one Sunday. Their reason; I had been divorced.

And the stones didn’t stop there. One pastor, whom I thought was my friend—a young man that I helped disciple­—told another friend of mine that I was “too controversial” for his pulpit. After all, I had been divorced!

I guess some people have higher standards than God.

The arrogance of that attitude has always astonished me. Alter all, God called me to the pulpit ministry after my divorce. It would seem that I’m good enough for God—failings and all—but not good enough for a lot of church people. How many believers, struggling with past mistakes, have similar experiences?

“Nothing you have ever done had shocked God for he knew what he was getting when he called you.” –Unknown

“I like your Christ; I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” — Mahatma Gandhi [3]

The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” (John 8:3-5)

“We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.” —Jonathan Swift [4]

How many of us have been dragged into the streets and tossed down at the feet of Jesus by sanctimonious religious folks? It’s amazing how many so called “Christians”, who are so big on salvation by grace—not by works [5], are lightning quick to judge a person unfit for church, much less Godly service. Why? Because of their works, the mistakes they have made, or the divorces they have had thrust upon them.

Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. (Romans 8:33-34)

If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. (Galatians 6:3)

The arrogance of many religious folks is contemptible in God’s eyes. When others call themselves “Christians” and lift themselves up above those of us who don’t meet their personal standards, it is sin in its nastiest form—pride.

“I hate pride and arrogance…” —God (Proverbs 8:13)

There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood… (Proverbs 6:16-17)

You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.’” So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God. Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way. (Romans 14:10-13)

How many of us are guilty of religious pride or haughtiness?  How many are guilty of shedding innocent blood? When you throw stones, in the form of accusations and pronounced judgments on the worthiness of your fellow believers, and then ostracize them from your pulpits and your fellowships, because of pass failings that God has already acquitted them of, you’re trying to set on Gods throne. You are actually trying to overrule God?! If your guilty of the sort of behavior, I have just one question for you, my self-righteous friend, when did God retire and leave you in charge?

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” — Jesus (Matthew 7:1-5)

True Christians were called to be lovers, not lawyers. Yet those who throw stones of judgment at others are not just lawyers, they are prosecutors and judges.

“My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come. A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” —Jesus (John 13:33-34)

[1] Unless otherwise noted all the scripture was taken from The International Version of The Bible (NIV) ®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.®

[2] The Brothers

[3] Taken from QuoteDB at on 10/01/08

[4] Taken from QuoteDB at on 10/01/08

[5] Ephesians 2:8-9