Three little letters, one big problem...

Seen recently on a church message board in a nearby town – “Don’t judge someone because they sin differently than you.”

 

Those three little letters: S – I – N

 

You don’t hear that word in public anymore. It’s just not condoned.

 

Just by using the word “sin” means you’re being judgmental. And that’s just not allowed in today’s society, you’re shouted down.

 

OK, fine and dandy. No one is perfect and we all sin. Why is someone else’s sin “worse” than my own? It isn’t really.

 

We’re reminded of the line from Jesus when a woman of “ill repute” was brought before him by some of the religious “experts” of the time. Remember the story from John Chapter 8?

 

The woman was dragged in and dropped right in front of Jesus. The high and mighty proclaimed that the woman had committed adultery and the law said she should be stoned to death. What did Jesus think?

 

These smarties figured they had the perfect way to trap Jesus into an answer that could later be used against Him.

 

This is a curious story because John says Jesus twirled his finger in the dirt while these men questioned him. Wonder what he was thinking? “(Sigh) Another test? Don’t these guys get it?”

 

Or what the questioners thought as Jesus played in the dirt while they challenged him. “What is he DOING down there?”

 

And then Jesus stood up and said simply to them...

 

“Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

 

And then Jesus went back to twirling in the dirt.

 

Can you imagine the scene? One of those “could have heard a pin drop” moments. Probably absolute silence for seconds, a dramatic pause for the ages.

 

And then the “experts” realized they had been had. And they quietly slinked away until just Jesus and the woman remained.

 

Let’s analyze. Did the woman sin? Assuming the accusation was true, of course she sinned. Badly. And she knew it.

 

By the letter of the Jewish law of the time the authorities had every right to stone her to death.

 

But we ALL sin and sometimes compassion is the better answer.

 

Again imagine the scene – Jesus, done twirling in the dirt, looked up to realize only He and the woman remained. Gee, where’d everyone go, He said? Probably with complete innocence.

 

He asked her, “Didn’t anyone condemn you?” “No,” she said. “Then I won’t either,” Jesus replied.

 

But then the most important line in the story arises as Jesus tells the woman...

 

“Go, and sin no more.”

 

Not “hey, you owe me one.” Or “whew, that was close, better get out of here.”

 

The admonition from the Lord was clear – I forgive you. But now go and don’t do that again. Ultimate compassion but with a message.

 

Of course we have no idea if the woman ever did it again. Our human failings often crop up repeatedly.

 

But through God we know we are a forgiven people. We ask and He grants us forgiveness – but always with the message to “sin no more.”

 

On Good Friday Jesus made the supreme sacrifice, giving His own human life to forgive our sins. Very few of us would do the same. The most compassionate act in history.

 

It’s easy to judge someone else. You’re not throwing physical stones like the old days. But we do throw verbal or mental stones at someone. And that’s just as bad.

 

It might be interesting if there was such a thing as self-stoning. You sin, right? Yes of course you do, we all do. You should be stoned, right? Start flailing away at yourself.

 

Wonder how long that would continue before you’d realize this solves nothing. The goal should be to “sin no more.” Don’t judge – change instead, sin no more.

 

And it’s through God’s grace that He forgives us so we can start over, and hopefully this time we’ve learned the lessons of our sin so we can live more like Him.

 

Join us on our journey to sin no more this Sunday. Our new prayer service begins promptly at 8:30 AM. It’s a chance to ask for God’s forgiveness, to start with a clean slate. And we can offer our prayers for others in the community and the world who need help and to be remembered.

 

Anyone can attend. Ask a friend to come with you, even if they attend another church. The service is only a half hour or less, then they can go attend their own church service later. No obligation, the door is wide open.

 

Know someone in the area with a prayer need but no church? Drop them a line, invite them. They can leave at 9 if they wish. Come as you are, no offering necessary.

 

Sunday School begins right after that with plenty of yummy breakfast items for our bi-weekly breakfast. Come and enjoy the fellowship of others. Sunday School starts after 9:30, join us, all are welcome. The kids have a fun time, and we adults are really learning in our famous circle from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. But no twirling in the dirt, please...

 

Our regular Sunday worship begins at 10:45. Prayers, songs and thoughts on our faith, our hope, our future. Hope you can join us.

 

And let us always remembers Jesus’ plan – Go, I forgive you, and sin no more.