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Throwing the First Stone

Updated: Jul 5, 2023


Obie Fernandez/Upsplash photo


By Dr. Bascom Ratliff

Pastor, Parker/Beagle/Fontana United Methodist Churches


The inspiration for today's message comes from the book of John: 3-7.


The Scribes and Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery; and making her stand before all of them, they said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?”


Jesus replied, “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

When those present heard it, they went away one by one until Jesus was left alone with the woman. Jesus said to her, “Where are they? Has no one condemned you?”


She said, “No one sir.”

Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go on your way and do not sin again.”


I believe the message from Jesus is very clear. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. We are all sinners. Jesus is telling us that none of us should be throwing stones at others. We should not be condemning people. We should love others, as he commanded us, and do our best to care for them.


Jesus would refer us to Matthew 25 where he tells us that we should give food to the hungry, water to the thirsty, and clothing to the naked. Christianity is about serving others. It is not about condemning, judging, or excluding others. Jesus, through his works and life, demonstrated the importance of forgiveness and inclusivity.


It is alarming to see so many Christians angrily and aggressively using their faith and the Bible to condemn others. We have developed a new category of lepers that we deliberately exclude from our love and fellowship because they are different from us. Whether they are migrants, lesbians, gays, or poor, they are not worthy of our love. And although not as visible, there are many who believe that those with addictions, mental illness, disabilities, are not worthy of God’s love.


The message of Jesus is quite clear. Rather than condemn, we are to forgive. Rather than shame, we are to love. Rather than harm, we are to heal and nurture. Rather than shun and exclude, we start to embrace, love, and care for others.


Christ's message about caring for lepers and those different than us (Matthew 8:3) is as true and vital today, as it was 2000 years ago. We are commanded to love and care for others. When we identify ourselves as Christians and followers of God's word, we must begin by first loving God and then loving others. These words of Jesus provide the foundation for our Christianity and identity as his followers.


Service First.

_______________

If you want to hear more about God’s wonderful promise of unfailing love and enjoy a great morning of music and worship, please come and worship with us.


We will worship at the Beagle United Methodist Church during May 2023.

We will worship at the Fontana UMC during June 2023.

We will worship at the Parker UMC during July 2023.

All services are at 10 a.m.

We serve communion on the first Sunday of each month. All are welcome.

Dr. Bascom Ratliff (913-710-5748)

Pastor, Parker/Beagle/Fontana United Methodist Churches

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