For years I read the scripture that speaks about the woman who was caught in the act of adultery and missed an important part. I always thought the statement, “Ye without sin cast the first stone” was referring to their past sins, or sins prior to bringing the woman to Jesus that they did not repent of. I thought that as they stood, they were reminded of sins they committed in the past. How could I have missed that in that very act of judging this woman and exposing her sin in such a public way, that they sinned? There is a self righteousness that we exhibit that makes us miss that in wanting punishment for someone, we are in fact committing a sin.
The question Jesus asked caused them to see themselves. See, they were so convinced that this was the moment they were going to get Jesus. For them if Jesus did not agree with the stoning of the woman, then he would not be following a mosaic law. Which for them would be contrary to the scripture. How could this be the son of God and he is not even following the word of God? There was also a second test for Jesus, if he agreed to them stoning her to death, then he would not be seen as the loving, forgiving person that he claimed to be.
So, as Jesus stooped and wrote in the dirt he was aware of their motives. He knew he was being tested. He also knew that this woman deserved an act of love, instead of condemnation. See, this was public. She was caught in the act of adultery, which possible meant that she was scantily clad. It was an embarrassing moment for her. How could they not see their lack of love towards this woman?
There is a thing with the mob mentality that causes people to abandon their sense of judgement because others are doing the same thing. This in some ways validates their actions because they are not the only one doing it.
Let us be careful in how we treat those who have fallen. Not because you have a stone, means you have to throw it.