READ : John 8:2-11
“Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” (v. 7)
Jesus stooped to the earth and wrote with his finger in the dirt. What a tantalizing detail. What did he write? The Bible doesn’t say. Maybe he wrote the sins of the woman’s accusers. Maybe he was simply doodling, stalling, buying time. Bible scholar Raymond Brown gets my vote when he says, “One cannot help but feel that if the matter were of major importance, the content of the writing would have been reported.”
Whatever Jesus wrote, this episode reminds us that adultery is not the unforgivable sin. People who violate the seventh commandment often think of themselves as fallen men or ruined women. Frequently they will leave the church in disgrace. But adultery is not the unforgivable sin. Jesus certainly does not condone the sin, but neither does he condemn the sinner.
And he does not condemn you. If other people condemn you, let them look at their own failings written in the dirt. Let them ponder the words of Jesus: “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” To you, Jesus says, “Go your way, and from now on do not sin again” (v. 11).
Lord, help us to remember that if you can forgive us, we can forgive ourselves.