There is a story about a woman that was brought to Jesus by some religious leaders. The woman had been caught cheating on her husband and the religious leaders wanted to use the opportunity to try to make Jesus look foolish because they didn’t like what He was teaching. Knowing that according to their laws, adultery was an illegal act punishable by death, the leaders asked Jesus what should be done to her.
Jesus doesn’t say anything to anyone. Instead, He bends down to write in the sand with His finger. Annoyed, the religious leaders continue to badger and question Him, so much so that at one point, Jesus stops writing, stands up and says, “If there is anyone here that hasn’t sinned, then you can be the first to throw a stone at her.” After a moment of silence, Jesus bends down and begins to write in the sand again.
One by one the religious leaders leave…the oldest of them leaving first…until Jesus is left alone with the woman that cheated on her husband. Noticing that they are alone, Jesus looks at her and asks where everyone went. The woman doesn’t answer, so Jesus looks at her again and says, “Has no one condemned you? Then neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8:1-11)
How often do you want so badly to be right (or righteous) that you miss the salvific action of God, happening right in front of you? Amazingly, we are often more than willing to accept God’s grace in our own lives while requiring strict accountability in the lives of others. God is not threatened by your sin…or by someone else’s bad theology. If you want to be part of what God is doing, then don’t be too quick to hold others accountable to your own definition of the law, lest you inadvertently condemn someone that the One who gave the law is already in the process of redeeming.