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  • Toni Wilbarger

Releasing the Stone


The world is a cruel place. People are taking to social media to let their followers know of another person's faults or to ridicule how someone looks or what he or she believes. Often the truth about someone gets twisted or taken out of context. Many times, the post, tweet, podcast or news article is nothing but lies. But if someone famous says it, millions believe it's "gospel" truth.


The other day I saw a post from an actor who showed a picture of Bob Keeshan in his Captain Kangaroo hair and jacket and asked how anyone could let their children be exposed to this man. Many refuted the actor, explaining how much Captain Kangaroo meant to them when they were young--how he entertained them and taught life lessons. Mr. Keeshan dedicated his life to children's programming and advocated against television that did nothing to teach young minds. He also spoke out against violence in video games. But this actor on social media decided to call Mr. Keeshan out based on nothing but his looks.


It seems as if the world has gone crazy, doesn't it? Anyone who reads or listens to the news can tell you that. But has it ever been perfect? Each generation struggled against something, whether it was injustice, famine, violence, depravity, abuse, or evil, dating all the way back to the beginning of time. Once Adam and Eve sinned against God in the Garden of Eden, we inherited that sin nature, and down through time it has manifested itself in all that's wrong in our world.


Make no mistake, though. We all have this sin in us. We tend to think our little lies are not as bad as someone who cheats on his or her spouse. That our nasty comments toward someone are nothing compared to the serial killer sitting in prison. But thinking like that is the human way of viewing life, not God's way. In God's eyes, sin is sin. Our little lies, impatience, and nasty comments are sin, just like the deeds of that murderer. Whatever the sin, big or little in the eyes of the world, it's behavior that can cut us off from God. God is holy and perfect. We (as in every person on this earth) are not. The Bible says "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23)


Earlier in Romans, Chapter 3, it says, “No one is righteous—not even one. No one does good, not a single one.” Those who are Christian know, however, that forgiveness for ALL our sin comes from Jesus Christ. Since only God is perfect, He is the only one who can truly judge and condemn us for our sins. But Jesus as God, the Son, said he came not to condemn the world, but that it might be saved through Him. (John 3:17)


When the leaders of Jesus' day brought a woman to him who had been caught in adultery, they said the law dictated she deserved to be killed by stoning (throwing big enough rocks at someone, over and over again, until he or she is beaten so badly that they die). The leaders were trying to trap Him into saying something that could be used against Him, so they asked what they should do. For awhile, Jesus said nothing and wrote in the dirt with His finger. The Bible doesn't say what He wrote, maybe so we could imagine it or perhaps because the point of the story is what He did next. He told them whoever had never sinned should be the first one to throw a stone. He got His point across. One by one, the accusers left the temple because they knew in their hearts they were not perfect enough to hurl the stone they held in their hands.


Jesus asked the woman where her accusers went. "Didn't even one of them condemn you?"


"No, Lord," she said.


And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” (John 8)


Notice how Jesus did not excuse her behavior. But He gave her a command to help her from then on out: "Go and sin no more." That's what He says to us when we come clean with Him about our own sins.


None of us has lived a life that gives us the privilege of tearing down someone else's. And just because someone is a great actor, sports star, politician, inventor, scientist, doctor, or even a preacher--does not elevate them above anyone else in the eyes of God. For ALL have fallen short.

Our social media influence is our stone of condemnation. We can throw it at someone to destroy him or her, OR we can drop it when we realize a perfect and holy God could just as easily turn that stone against us.


Unbelievers do not know God, so they can be expected to continue ruining reputations and trying to shut others down. But as Christians, we know a better way. It's time to drop the rock.


Until next time,

Toni








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