Life Notes: Are You a Stone Thrower?
by Missy Goodwin

I clearly remember my mother “dressing me down” as a teenager after overhearing me make several judgmental remarks about a classmate who became pregnant during our sophomore year. She very calmly but firmly taught me two of the most valuable lessons we can learn: IT’S NOT YOUR PLACE TO JUDGE and NO ONE IS ABOVE DOING ALMOST ANYTHING. Of course, I’m relatively sure that I’ll never be an axe murderer, but sometimes the fine line is not so clear. We make decisions based on emotions that almost always seem right at the time. Not only can our decisions be based on feelings, but they’re also a product of who we are, where we came from, and what bumps in the road we encountered along the way.

Wouldn’t it be a great eye-opener if we were permitted to walk in each other’s shoes just for a day? Certain scriptures would certainly have a bigger impact, don’t you think? For instance, when Jesus says in John 8:7 “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her” -or- Luke 6:37 where he says “Do not judge and you shall not be judged”. How many of us wince at the thought of that one? Would you want to be judged in the same manner as you have judged others? If you can honestly say yes, then you can stop reading – you obviously get it. However, most of us would have to say absolutely, positively, unequivocally NO!

I’m neither a therapist nor a theologian, but you really don’t have to be either to see how we humans pick and choose from the Bible only the parts we need to use to either support or justify our actions. Have you ever noticed how very comforting it is to zero in on the sins that you’re NOT committing? You can just skip over all that other stuff that makes you feel uncomfortable, and just feel really, really good about yourself. That’s what it’s all about anyway, right? If you’re not gay, then just go right ahead and condemn someone who is; you’ve never committed adultery, so you can get really self-righteous about that one, too. And don’t forget to preach to your divorced friends, because after all, YOU’VE never been divorced. The list of ways to make yourself feel better by exposing what’s wrong with everyone else goes on and on. But while you’re compiling this list, it may be a good idea to remember that someone else may be coming up with a list of his or her own, full of all the transgressions you have committed.

I need to take a second to make something very clear – especially if my two teenage daughters read this! In no way do I mean to suggest that we should have an “anything goes” mentality. But there is a big difference between judging a behavior rather than a person. After all, we are supposed to learn right from wrong, and hopefully be able to discern the two. But it’s not, and never has been, our job to judge those who fall short of doing what’s right. And when you think about it – don’t we ALL fit into that category? Personally, I think what scares me more than being one of those getting pelted by stones, is being the one with the stone in my hand. How about you?

The Life Notes articles are written by staff of Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home and are published in The Ruston Daily Leader.

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