Anything But Empty

"Let your words be anything but empty."

Abuse and Throwing Stones


“Let he who has no sin cast the first stone…”

This is one of the most comforting stories in the Bible. People go to this story, the picture of Jesus stooping in the dirt with the woman caught in adultery, surrounded by the men caught throwing stones, and they feel comforted that they have a Savior who advocates for them. We can move beyond managing shame and guilt to a place of know that Jesus speaks equalizing words of forgiveness and grace on our behalf.

But sometimes this verse is lifted out; lifted out from the heart of Jesus for the hurting, marginalized, abused and voiceless. I’ve recently heard this verse used specifically in a Christian abuse context in order to expedite the story of redemption and forgiveness, while bypassing the work of true healing that is often necessary in the face of abuse.

I’ve heard Christians say in the wake of abuse from fellow Christians that we cannot condemn because we have all sinned and have no place to throw stones; as if speaking out against injustices, even against our own brothers and sisters, and leaving room for the abused to confront their abusers, is the equivalent of throwing stones.

These words must never be used to excuse not calling out injustice when it occurs. God forbid we use these words to do the very opposite of what Jesus did when he spoke them.

Return to that picture once again; the picture of Jesus stepping through the throng of accusers encircled like vultures around the woman, the woman with no one to speak for her, the woman without an advocate, a woman who had lived her life in the hands of a patriarchy where she may have very well been seen as a commodity, whose voice meant very little in comparison with her accusers, the men who twisted the words and heart of God in order to suit their own desires.
Jesus spoke those words as her advocate.

God forbid we use those words to shame the voiceless, to shame the advocates who speak for those who are abused and harmed.

How dare we accuse them of throwing stones when they speak against an abuser or a predator, even if the abuser is a brother or sister in Christ.

How dare we call it evil work, and commit the same sin of the Pharisee’s attributing to Satan the work of Jesus, when abuse is uncovered and truth is brought to light.

How dare we be more ready to call the revelation of abuse evil and criminal then we are to call the act itself evil and criminal.

God forbid we use the words of Jesus to enable abuser dynamics.

God forbid we use these words to recast the abuser as victim, and victim and advocate as a thrower of stones.

“Let he who has no sin cast the first stone…”

Yes, this speaks to the unimaginable grace of God. This speaks to the fact that, yes, grace is sufficient for the covering of sins, from a liar to a child abuser. They should provide comfort to those who have committed the most egregious of sins, knowing that Jesus’ heart still beats love for them and a longing to redeem and save.

We can believe that Jesus has the power to restore all people, but this does not mean that in order to protect our own brothers and sisters in Christ that we encourage victims to “hush,” “take it to elders first”, “keep it in the family”, “don’t indulge in bitterness.” And it certainly doesn’t mean when abusers are caught and expected to face justice that we accuse their victims of “throwing stones.”

Yes, these words speak to the fact that there is no place for a high horse in regards to our standing before God or deserving of grace; but one doesn’t need a high horse to speak out on behalf of justice and the victims of abuse.

Our place is first and foremost in the dirt with those who are wounded, those who are in the margins, encircled and trapped, fending of the predators.


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One thought on “Abuse and Throwing Stones

  1. Pamela Gipson on said:

    Love it, you are amazing and I am so proud.

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