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November 18, 2019, 9:35 AM

Put Your Rocks Down


 

Between our three children, our family has attended many competitive events throughout the years. Baseball, football, basketball, softball, dance, gymnastics, and on and on. One thing that you hope to find at every competitive event is a group of officials that are unbiased and fair, who will apply the same standards to all parties involved in the competition. This, however, is not always the case and when it occurs it makes me very irritated. Just recently the Tyler chapter of officials for high school football completely jilted our Indians and cost us the game. Needless to say, there were many disgruntled fans, especially when video evidence proved the call was blown. I used to serve with the guy who was the head referee and he was a good person. He served in his church, was in law enforcement and even ran for public office. None the less, he made an egregious mistake. (It’s ok Todd, I forgive you. Not sure about the rest of J’ville though.) Referees and umpires are just people and the majority of them want to do a good job and be fair. The idea that I would do any better and never make a bad call is fantasy and I need to remember that. I started saying a long time ago that I have learned to put the rocks down. Whether it’s high school referees, people on social media, or whatever the case. I still struggle with it but God has a way of gently reminding me. The idea of putting down the rocks comes from the story of the adulteress woman brought to Jesus by the religious leaders in John 8:1-11. They caught her as she was actively engaged in the sin. They took her to where Jesus was teaching, among many people gathered around Him. They had no desire to see the woman restored or forgiven. The plan was to trap Jesus by using the Law and this woman was simply collateral damage. The Law was given to the people to point out sin so that they may find forgiveness in Christ. The Pharisees were trying to manipulate the Law to condemn the woman and Jesus. Jesus’ response to the less than accurate statement of the Pharisees pertaining to the Law reflected His heart and mission. Rather than discussing the misrepresentation of the Law or the fact that they were trying to trap Him, Jesus challenged the religious leaders to examine their position of authority to condemn the woman. A challenge not based on position, but based on condition. According to the Law, the witnesses who brought the claim against the woman were to be the first to cast stones at her. Jesus’ words pierced the hearts of those casting judgment. For any of them to be able to throw a stone, Jesus said that person should be without sin, even the desire to sin, or having ever sinned. This changed the attitudes of the men because there is only one man who ever fit that description and He was sent to save the world not condemn it. Man is condemned because of his sin. Jesus was sent to pay the debt of our sin as our redeemer. John 3:17-18 explains this quite clearly. The lack of faith in Jesus Christ is what brings condemnation and eternal consequences of sin. After the men went away, Jesus, the reconciling redeemer, turned His attention to the woman. He did not condone or overlook her sin. By telling her to go and sin no more He acknowledged the sin she committed and commanded her to no longer live a life of sin. Jesus, the only one able to pass judgment on her, offered her forgiveness when the self-righteous wanted her dead. I imagine this was a completely different outcome than the woman had anticipated. This story reminds me of the amazing grace I have received and should be extending to others. Let us not be too swift to pass judgment or desire to condemn those who find themselves in difficult circumstances. Remember, the Gospel is to be a tool of redemption and salvation, not something to be manipulated for personal piety or agendas. Next time you get ready to throw stones at someone who has made a mistake or is caught in sin, evaluate your own heart and motivations for confronting them. Be sure what is done is done in a spirit of humility and love seeking to restore the one who has gone astray or made a mistake. Even if it is a referee.

 

Robert


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