While we don’t physically stone people to death in our modern world anymore (THANK GOD), we do cast an invisible stone that is perhaps more deadly than any jagged stone thrown with the most brute force. This stone is condemnation. So many times we witness men and women fall, as the Bible tells us that we will in Proverbs 24:16, but instead of having the personal integrity to love our neighbor through the down, we smile, we give lip service, and right there in that moment in our hearts we decide that this is no longer a person whom we can associate with or respect. Perhaps we don’t cut him completely out of our circle; we just treat them ‘different’ than we use to. And while this stone varies in the facets it takes on according to personality/character, its effects are COLOSSAL.
I have to believe that if a person truly is seeking to be righteous (having a connection/relationship w/ God), whatever is causing or has caused her/him to fall is weighing on their conscious heavier than it is on my own. And if this belief is wrong, I know for a fact that this fall DID NOT catch God by surprise. He saw it coming, purposed it in his plan for that person, and knows how to handle it. Thus it becomes my job not to condemn, but to forgive, to perhaps console, to counsel, to offer a loving attempt to reconnect the person who fell with the God that can restore the ‘fall’. I know from personal experience that there are not many things worse than to be shunned, looked at differently, or treated differently due to an error that I made by the people who should lovingly point me back to God.
One way to check for condemnation within ourselves is if we cannot separate the fall from the fallen. If we cannot do this, then we too have fallen. We are commanded to love the sinner and abhor the sin. The righteous falls seven times but rises back up again. The wicked remains fallen in mischief. Proverbs 24:17 goes on to warn us to not even be glad when our enemy stumbles… Let he who is without sin cast the first invisible stone. “…neither do I condemn you, Jesus said. Go and sin no more.” Are we the accusers or the encouragers? Do we see the separation, or are we throwing the sinner out with the sin? Are we casting invisible stones with our looks, our actions our motives, or casting light on the part of the scripture that says ‘but he rises back up again’? “Where are your accusers,” Jesus asked. Today, I choose to drop my rocks and ENCOURAGE!
Go ahead, you cast the first stone…