Read: John 8:1-11
This is a classic story from the Scriptures, and often used as a proof text that Christians shouldn’t judge. The woman that the Pharisees brought to Jesus was caught in adultery. The law specified that a woman caught in adultery was to be stoned (Leviticus 20:10, Deuteronomy 22:22). They brought the woman to her to see if they could trick Jesus into saying something so they could arrest him. They brought the woman, but it raises the question as to where the man that was caught with her was. The text does not indicate this, but they may have fabricated the story just to frame Jesus. Jesus was teaching at the time. He was writing on the ground, but the text does not say about what. He looked at the Pharisees, and says that the one without sin should case the first stone and went back to writing. The Pharisees each go away because they knew that they were with sin – perhaps even so because they had no real proof that the woman was actually guilty. Jesus looks up at her and sees that the Pharisees are gone. He tells her to go, and not sin anymore.
Some might interpret this as judging others. Judgment, on the other hand requires a conviction of sin and an execution of the penalty of sin. For one to judge, one would have to have both the authority to convict sin and the authority to carry that conviction out. Jesus certainly had the authority to do this, as he is God and God is the one who judges the world (1 Chronicles 16:14). Eventually, Jesus will judge the world (Revelation 20:11-15), but that was not his mission when he came to earth (John 3:17). What Jesus did was simply speak truth into the lives of Pharisees about being with sin and it convicts them of their sin. The conviction was self-conviction. John in his first epistle says that the one who claims to have no sin deceives himself and the truth is not in that person (1 John 1:8). If one says he is without sin, he makes a liar out of Jesus (1 John 1:10). Paul asserts that all have sin (Romans 3:23). The truth that one is with sin should be enough for one to feel self-convicted and realize that the one is also under judgment.
Galatians 6:1-4 outlines how Christians should behave in reference to sin:
- Those who are spiritual should restore in gentleness those who are in error. This implies that they should speak truth into the one in error’s life.
- Those who do the restoring should not be tempted in the same manner.
- Bear the burden together – that is help one another out in times of weakness. This is one way to fulfill the law of Christ which is to love one another he loved them. (John 15:12)
- Do not be deceived into thinking one is something when he is not. All are sinners, so one should not deceive oneself into thinking he or she is not and become judgmental in doing so.
- Each should examine himself and not compare himself to others. One should boast will in himself alone rather than comparing himself to others.
While is is true that Christians are in no place to judge as Jesus has the authority to do, Christians should not be afraid to correct another, but they should also be mindful of one’s their own state. This way, it benefits everyone such that they realize that they all realize they need Jesus’ grace.
Lord, help me to speak truth and let truth be spoken to me!