Lenten Meditation: Monday, March 27, 2023
Today, a group of religious experts brought Jesus a woman caught in the act of adultery. The Jewish law said she should be stoned, but the experts wanted to know what Jesus thought. He did not answer their question. Instead, he gave the world one of its most frequently referenced ethical precepts: The one without sin should cast the first stone. It was a disarming answer. The experts all walked away from the woman caught in the act of adultery.
Have you ever noticed that nowhere in the scriptures do we find a story of a man caught in the act of adultery? Adultery is a two-way street. This woman could not have been caught in the act of adultery unless a man had also been caught in the act of adultery. No one was threatening to stone him, though.
Jesus, in speaking to the religious experts, was addressing a group of men. The culture, including the religious culture, treated them as superior to women in general and to this woman in particular. Jesus saw a deeper reality. Men are not superior to women. At our most basic, we are all the same. And, while the culture treated this woman’s particular sin as if it were worse than these men’s sins, it was not so. Sin is sin, Jesus says, and no one is innocent.
Today, see if you notice yourself thinking of anyone as not quite as good as you. Is it a person of another gender, another ethnicity, another religion? It could be someone not as smart, as cultured, as professionally successful as you are (of think yourself to be). Maybe it’s someone from another part of the country, or even just from another neighborhood. And ask yourself: How are we more alike than different? Am I really superior?