America, Lay Down Your Stones

Most mornings, I sit on my front porch underneath the towering oaks listening to the birds. I casually sip my coffee and read from God’s word, letting it sink beneath the busyness and settle somewhere within. While the world moves at a feverish pace, there’s a peaceful stillness in those moments that nourishes my soul. This is my place of solitude.

Then, I scroll through my Facebook feed and the peace seems to dissipate. The birds’ chorus fades into a bitter backlash of human emotion as friends and acquaintances destroy each other with their words.

Yet in the midst of damage conversations and hateful rhetoric, I find myself asking, “What can I do?”

Instead of granting authority to my emotions, instead of letting my own sense of justice reign, and diving into the arguments, I return to that quiet place, the place where I commune with God, and present Him with that weighty question.

I hear Him answer:

“Lay down your stones.”

Throwing Stones

In the Bible, there’s a familiar passage of a woman caught in adultery. The religious leaders drag her to the feet of Jesus in an attempt to challenge His teaching. In their culture, her sin was punishable by death. But what would Jesus say? As she lay in the dirt between these men, humiliated and helpless, Jesus speaks up:

“Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” —John 8:7

Instead of seeing this as a passage you’ve already read or something that you’ve heard at church on Sunday, insert yourself in the story.

Our culture has become masterful at throwing stones. When we don’t agree with someone politically, we throw stones. When a social issue has us up in arms, we throw stones. When someone wrongs us personally or professionally, we throw stones. In fact, we’ve gotten so good at throwing stones, we don’t even recognize it as such. We call it freedom of speech, or in Christian circles, we call it righteousness.

But the weight of these stones are heavy. While we think that stones only damage the at-fault party, I’m beginning to understand that stones injure the thrower as well. Justice is a weight that we cannot bear.

What is the thing that most offends you? Whatever it is that you hate, whatever injustice you face, whatever offends you, are you willing to lay down your stone?

Friends, our world needs to be filled with a people who are willing to lay down their stones because it is the only way to show the love of Christ to others. There’s no compassion in stone throwing.

The events that surround us are tragic and bring the brokenness of sin into the palm of our hands, but we cannot stoop down and pick up a stone while we’re wearing a WWJD bracelet.

While the world stands in judgement, can we choose grace?

MH

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