Sunday, April 25, 2010

Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone...

Judgement against others was the topic of the sermon at church on Sunday. I've been attending Highlands, the church where my son-in-law's father, Mark Tidd, is the pastor.

Mark really is a gifted speaker. Every time I listen to him, I laugh, I learn, I'm inspired, and I'm usually very moved by his messages.

This week, he spoke about the parable in which a woman caught in adultery is brought before Jesus and he says, “He who is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone at her.” The people walk away, recognizing that they are not without sin. (By the way, this is the story in which one of my children once questioned the meaning of 'getting stoned'... But I digress.)

Mark talked about the judgements that are being made in our modern world; judgements between races, religions, politics, sexual orientation, and then he reminded us of the one we tend to forget: judgements against the judgers. Mark talked about how natural it was for us to want to "throw stones" at those we disagree with or those who we feel wronged us. He asked us to imagine how much better it would be if the stones were just dropped rather than thrown at people.

There were little sheets of paper with a drawing of a stone and he asked us each to write the name of someone who we were throwing stones at... either with our judgements or our anger. Then, as we walked up for communion at the alter, we were to crumple the stones and throw them in a pot.

I initially couldn't think of anyone to write on my stone. I mentally gave myself an 'at-a-girl' for being such a non-judgemental person. But then I remembered my ex-husband and his wife. I rarely talk about them, but in my mind, I still play the victim, blaming them for the divorce. So I wrote down their names, realizing that I had been judging them for years.

I don't know why this was so profound for me. Maybe it's just because I've been going through a lot of stressful stuff lately, or maybe it's because I hadn't even realized how I'd still been hanging on to this anger. But as I crumpled up that paper and threw it in the pot, I started crying. I'd been carrying that stone in my heart for over six years. It felt good to finally throw it away.


Rob said...

Sounds like a great experience. Is there maybe another aspect besides dropping judgment?

I was at a gathering once where we had special slips of paper that we wrote on - things we wanted to leave behind. Then touch it to a candle and it goes "poof" and flashes and disappears into the tiniest ash and is gone. I think many of us could make a small supernova this way if we dug down deep enough...

Micah D.L. said...

Great post, Yvette!
The title alone brought me to one of my very favorite songs of all time...Hold Me Now by Jennifer Knapp. Check it out, let me know what you think!

Yvette said...

Rob, yes, we did that exercise in our Rebuilder's "graduation" ceremony. Letting go is difficult, but very freeing.

Micah, I checked out "Hold Me Now" and it is a beautiful song. Gave me goosebumps!