There’s a story in scripture that even those that don’t believe in Jesus, know. The book of John tells that a crowd gathered around a woman who had been accused of adultery and demanded that she be stoned, according to a set of rules and regulations. Jesus, however, said these powerful, profound words, “Whichever one of you is without sin be the first to cast your stone.” Of course, no one did because no one is without sin. I can just imagine the people walking away, thinking to themselves, perhaps huddling in small groups and whispering, ”Sure, I sin, but my sins aren’t as bad as hers, or justifying it by, “well, it’s different in my case. I’m nothing like that woman!”
I know, because I’ve been there on both sides.
I’ve had well meaning “Christian” people accuse me of having an inappropriate relationship with another man and I’ve been quick to pass the same exact judgment on another woman. I’ve felt the sting of being on the receiving end of verbal stones that were etched with words of shame, anger, bitterness, hatred, judgment, condemnation, and jealously. Those stones lead me to build up a big wall, shielding my heart from others. It was my way of protecting myself, but it also, unintentionally, it created a barrier that isolated me and kept me from forming close, intimate relationships. I hid behind my stone wall, barely even letting those closest to me inside. I even pushed God out of it because, after all, wasn’t it Christian, God believing people that had placed me in the situation?
For years, I wore this invisible “scarlet letter,” and I also pulled on a mask, pretending not to care, ignoring the loneliness, and trying hard to convince myself that it really didn’t matter. It did though, and I was only fooling myself. I wasn’t fooling God and He saw right through me and He gently began to soften my heart and to teach me something else.
“Cast your stone,” He said, but rather than the hurling stones at someone like they did in the past, with strict rules and regulations, engraved with condemnation and judgement, I want you to cast stones as if upon water and create a ripple effect. I heard His voice, whispering softly yet persuasively, filling me with words of life to mark on the stones.
All these beautiful, affirming words that could be used as stepping stones….laid out one by one by one to create a pathway - a mosaics of inspirational truths - showing others what God’s love is really all about.
So yesterday,my husband and I bought a huge bag of black river stones and a few white Sharpie markers and began to write the words we had been given along with the name of our new website, http://www.castyourstone.com .
Instead of hurling stones with force, we will place the stones gently into the hands of people and let the ripple effect take place. We may leave stones where they can be found, and we might place a stone in unexpected places. But I know this much for certain, it may seem random to us and it may not make sense at the time, but God has a plan and purpose for each and every thing that happens in our lives.
I know that everything I have experienced has taught me to be slow to judge, and quick to forgive. I can see how some relationships that others would think the worst of, but have actually been pivotal, life-changing ones. I know that I’m the woman I am now because of all the relationships, the good and the not so good, that have shaped and taught me.
Sometimes the very things that break us, also brings us to where we are supposed to be. Love works that way, God works that way, and it’s absolutely amazing to recognize how things fall into place. I don’t regret a single thing because I’ve learned so much about my capacity to love and God’s incredible attention to detail, using all things to work together for good.
I have received the beautiful stones of mercy and grace, of love and clarity, and in turn, I’ve chosen to give back the same stones. I’ve offered forgiveness and found my own freedom. I’ve let go of anger and received peace. Instead of holding grudges, I hold hands and I feel the love of God overflowing from every part of my life.
It really is true that we should never judge anyone because they sin differently than we do. Rather than pointing fingers, we should offer a hand….we should cast a stone.
This creates a ripple effect. A simple stone, a single word, an assuring touch, can be the very beginning and it can go on and on, expanding and overflowing, making a tremendous impact and changing the world. Whosoever is with sin (that’s each and every one of us), cast your stone and create a ripple effect of love.