So there is this story in the Bible about this woman who was dragged into the center of town because she was caught in adultery. The crowd was in a frenzy and they were getting ready to stone her - when Jesus started to meddle in their business. As far as I can tell, he walked right in the middle of the town square as people were yelling insults at her, spitting at her, telling her what a loser she was. And just as the stones were being picked up off the ground, he yelled over the crowds - "Um, excuse me - but are you all perfect here? Have you ever in your life done something you are ashamed of? Maybe lied? Stolen? Cheated? Been a jerk to someone? I'm just curious." The crowd, of course was stunned by his boldness. But they couldn't argue with him. Jesus wrote in the dirt with a stick while the would-be-stone-throwers went deep into themselves for a few minutes. Then he spoke up again - "Seriously, if any of you is 100% guilt-free, fling that stone as hard as you can." What do you think happened? They all turned, of course - and instead of making a circus spectacle of a woman who messed up in her life - they went home to confront their own demons.
Adultery is painful for all involved. Some of my best friends have been dragged through the depths of hell because of infidelity in their relationship. It is a rending of the heart, a ripping of the soul. So how can grace be part of the equation when all you want to do is ruin someone because of the pain they have caused?
The only explanation I can come up with is exactly what Jesus said. (He tends have pretty good answers). Because who of us, when pressed against the wall, could throw the first stone? And if you were to dig deep into the heart of any adulterer, I am convinced that you would uncover a world of pain and despair that started long before the cheating.
I find it interesting that there are so many movements to stop the stoning of the Iranian Mother who was caught in adultery (as well there should be). And yet the rhetoric we hear about those famous offenders in our society is certainly the equivalent of emotional stone throwing. Even if Tiger Woods and Jesse James wanted to have new life and forgiveness, their dirty laundry hangs for the world to see making it impossible for them to feel clean again, whole again, new again. And while their status and entitlement will carry them a long way - it won't heal their heart.
So our Christian response to all of this? Pray. For the victims of adultery and for those who are being proverbially stoned. Tell people over and over again how madly and deeply they are loved by God. Seriously, tell them. Speak out against the injustice being done to this Iranian mother. Pray for her children. And for goodness sake - don't ever throw the stone.