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How to Respond When Others Sin

“Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.”

Jesus Christ

How do you handle other people’s sin? Do you succumb to the temptation to immediately judge and condemn them? Jesus shows us how to respond when others sin in John 8:1-11. Take a few minutes to read that passage.

Jesus replied to the trap set by the Pharisees by not responding immediately. He bent down and wrote in the ground with His finger. When someone has sinned, be slow to speak and even slower to judge. What if our knee-jerk reaction was to give ourselves time to think and to pray for the one who sinned?

Eventually, Jesus stood up and said, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:8). Jesus bypassed the focus being on the adulterous woman and directed the religious leaders to consider themselves. He diverted their attention away from her sin to their own sin and refocused their gaze by holding up a mirror for them to see the truth regarding their lives. What if instead of judging or condemning others of their sin, we first dealt with our own sin? (Luke 6:41-42) I need to be more concerned about my sinful nature than being critical and judgmental of others, which itself is sin. What would the world be like if we spent more time focusing on our own ungodliness and less time judging others? What if we cared more about our holiness rather than assessing others’ lifestyle?

Jesus, being totally without sin, was the only one that had the right to cast a stone at the adulterous woman, and yet, He didn’t. Nor did He condemn, judge, or shame her. Instead, He encouraged her to stop sinning. Jesus’s response of grace, His unmerited favor, wooed her to repentance and to leave her lifestyle of sin. I’m humbled when I’m convicted of my sin which causes me to repent and become more compassionate toward those who sin. What if we allowed our sin to be used for our benefit, to make us look more like Jesus and less like our old nature and fleshly desires?

When we experience God’s unconditional love and acceptance resulting in His forgiveness of our sin, how can we not give that away to others? May we handle other people’s sin with compassion and seek God’s forgiveness for our own sin, desiring to look more like Jesus.

“Worry about your own sins. You will not be asked about mine.”

Toby Mac

Relevant Reflections:

1. Which response to handling someone else’s sin is God highlighting to you?

2. What new action will you take the next time you hear of someone’s sin?

Image by Okan Caliskan from Pixabay

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