what i've learned along the way
"What goes around comes around . . ."
Published on June 16, 2009 By lobsterhunter In Religion

 

It seems as though from the beginning of time humans have had a simple, yet brutal, way of dealing with wrong: rocks. Someone would point out the offender, and the whole community would stand ready to hurl stones in the direction of the accused. This archaic approach to dealing with indiscretion is alive in well today. Of course we don’t actually pick up jagged rocks and stone people, but the weight of another’s judgment has the same cruel effect. I know this, because recently I was on the receiving end of this kind condemnation.

 

 

After celebrating my 30th birthday with a group of friends, I made the decision to post a few pictures and a handful of somewhat inappropriate comments on my Facebook page. This in and of itself was not a terrible mistake. The problem that arose is that my junior high bonus kids and their ultra conservative mother have access to my account. These comments and photographs greatly disturbed the kid’s mom, and my character came under attack. Rocks flew, and I walked away bruised and wounded.

The ironic part of this story is that I have thrown my fair share of rocks. For years, I constantly condemned others for making what I deemed “poor moral choices”. I sat on my proverbial high horse and hurled stones in the direction of anyone whose values stood in opposition to my own. I judged others harshly, and I became a champion rock thrower at my favorite sins like drinking, cursing, and promiscuity. These were easy targets, and the luxury of deflection kept me blinded to my own vices.

You see, looking inward and recognizing the ugly that lives inside of you is an incredibly painful, yet liberating, process. I cringe when I think of the number of times I have wounded another with the weight of my judgment. I often default to these pharisaical ways, and I’ve come to understand that the thorn in my flesh is self-righteousness. Our hearts are deceitful, and Jesus said be very careful before we judge, because if we judge others by the rock, others will judge us by the rock. I’m pretty sure He was right.

The problem with condemnation is that, rocks don’t hit “sin”. They hit people.

As the events of the last few days have unfolded, I’ve found myself reflecting on the Biblical parable about a woman who was caught in the act of adultery. She didn’t post her sin as a Facebook status update, but the whole community knew what she had done. And everyone gripped their rocks, ready to punish her. Jesus shows up and disarms the crowd with a simple, yet profound, statement, "If any of you have never sinned, then go ahead and throw the first stone at her!" Everyone drops their rocks and walks away. I wonder if she heard the thump as the stones hit the ground.

In the movie Forrest Gump, there is a scene where Jenny goes back to her childhood home. As she stands staring at the run down shack, reliving the traumatic sexual abuse she suffered at hands of her father, anger envelopes her and she picks up a rock and chunks it in the direction of the dilapidated structure. She continues this barrage of rock throwing for a few minutes, and then she crumbles to the ground and sobs uncontrollably. Gently, Forrest pronounces, “Sometimes, there just aren’t enough rocks.”

I hope the next time I’m tempted to sweep up a stone and launch it at someone’s “sinful” behavior; I remember these deep and lasting truths. I am a recovering rock thrower, and the log in my own eye causes constant irritation. I suppose the old saying, “What goes around comes around” rings true.


Comments
on Jun 16, 2009

I want to say Congratulations.  Weird huh?  But you know what?  Of all the lessons to learn in life, I believe, this is one of the best and hardest.

Sometimes it takes being human and needing forgiveness to remind us why its so important to be forgiving and not condemning.

Thank you for sharing this.

on Jun 16, 2009

Yeah, ditto what she said.  I was really moved by your article.  Thanks.

on Jun 17, 2009

I think your age has something to do with this as well.  I also cringe, the same way you say you do, over past comments and thought patterns especially when I was younger.  As we mature in our faith, we understand more clearly the love that God has for these people we were so quick to condemn. 

I think it's very interesting that the ones who dropped their rocks lastly were the younger ones. 

The older and wiser were the first to leave.  

So don't think of yourself as just aging physically.   It sounds like you are also becoming much more spiritually mature as well.  And that's a good thing! 

and with love Jesus looked at this woman and said....."go and sin no more." 

 

on Jul 29, 2009

Your story brought forth very painful memories for me.  As awful as they are, I am glad that I bothered to read your post.

 

I can't say that I agree with KFC's post about the young and the old.  I don't think that living longer or maturing in faith is any indication of more understanding.   Sometimes the elderly are the quickest to condemn, so sure are they in their own ways, and what they quite mistake for knowledge.

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