Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her. — John 8:7
We are all familiar with this passage. A woman caught in the act of adultery and the scribes and Pharisees bring her before Jesus to test him. They shout, “the law of Moses commanded us to stone the woman. Now what do you say?”
His response is one of the most famous words ever spoken, and is as true today as it was over 2000 years ago, but like so many of the stories in the Gospels there is a lot more to it than a story about judgment and hypocrisy.
Notice that when they first bring the woman to Jesus he is silent. He crouches down writing in the dirt as her accusers shout and demand “Justice.” Wow, that scene sound familiar? For Jesus, “justice” is not about punishment, but it is about healing and forgiveness.
If we are to follow Jesus’s example our response is not to punish, but to listen, to heal, and to help the accused find another way.
Next time you encounter a shooting mob or loud voices crying out for punishment, consider Jesus’s example and remember to listen, heal, and help find a another way.