they are everywhere – do you feel surrounded by them? with no where to hide, no place to take cover – you are a moving target for all those who are oh so eager and ready to cast the first stone and all the other stones they have stored up and waiting. Yes, I feel like we live in a world full of stonecasters, dangerous, deadly stonecasters. They masquerade as harmless, everyday individuals until you realize too late that they are casting stones at you and you are defenseless against the attack.
Sometimes it is not an all out stoning, but more of a daily pebble throwing, wearing away at your soul, little by little with each casting of a stone. The stones of choice are usually words, cast carelessly toward their target. Some stones carry more weight than others, the weightier the words the bigger the bruises.
Sometimes it’s an outright stoning – end result death – death by stoning. That’s why you have to watch out for stonecasters – they can cut you – they can kill you – they can bury you alive.
Jesus said “He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone.” That instruction disqualified everyone present in the crowd that day, the day they brought the woman caught in adultery to Jesus to be judged. The would-be stonecasters wanted this woman to be judged – judged publicly. After all, stonecasting (unlike backstabbing) is a very public pursuit.
That’s why social media proves such a convenient modern day arena for today’s stonecasters. This is something stonecasters of other eras didn’t have. There was a time in history when stonecasters used actual stones, killing their victims literally. These stonings were community events – a very public forum in which the stonecasters came together against a lone target of their choice – whoever had outraged or offended them at the time.
Ironically, in the case of the woman caught in adultery and brought to Jesus, the only One qualified to throw a stone at her (Jesus) chose not to. Jesus was and is the only one without sin. He could have cast the first stone, condemning her to death, but He didn’t. Jesus, instead of condemning her, forgave her and set her free to go and live a new and different life.
Today stonecasters are much more sophisticated. Words are their weapons of choice and the scars they leave are internal, not visible wounds for others to view. They still like to cast their stones publicly, so as to encourage others to join with them in the stoning of whoever might be their current target.
But one thing is sure. None of us are safe from the slings of the stonecasters that live among us. They strike without warning whenever they feel the need to put themselves in the place of judge, jury and executioner. Such was the case of the wanna be stonecasters that were gathered around Jesus in the temple courts on an ordinary day more than two thousand years ago, . . .
“At dawn He (Jesus) appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around Him, and He sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said . . . ‘the Law of Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do You say?’ . . . He said to them, ‘If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.’
. . . At this, those who heard began to go away one at at time, . . . until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. . . . Jesus asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ ‘No one, Sir,’ she said. ‘Then neither do I condemn you,’ Jesus declared. ‘Go now and leave your life of sin.’ ” (John 8:2-11)
The power wielded by stonecasters lies in their ability to publicly humiliate and condemn their targeted person. But their power is rendered null and void by Jesus’s greater power to forgive our sin and to set us free to “go and sin no more.”
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1-2)
My defense against the stonecasters of this world is the same as the woman’s who was brought to Jesus in the temple courts. Jesus shielded her from the sting of the stones that would surely have come her way. He shielded her with His words of truth. He told her that He didn’t condemn her. After all, that’s not why He came here.
“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” (John 3:17)
Jesus is my shield against all the stones of the stonecasters.
“Every word of God is flawless; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.” (Proverbs 30:5)
“You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in Your word.” (Psalm 119:114)
There will always be stonecasters among us – but every time the angry mob closes in, Jesus is there saying, “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone,” followed by “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.”
Free to live a new life – free from the stones the stonecasters cast – saved from the stones that would destroy . . . “there is now no condemnation” . . .
sincerely, Grace Day