Compassionate Care: Unqualified to Throw Stones • The Pregnancy Network

Compassionate Care: Unqualified to Throw Stones

My mind raced back to the things I’m least proud of, and my heart filled with compassion for a woman I’ve never met. 

There she was—a woman, alone and ashamed, in the middle of the temple. Not brought there on her own accord, she was likely afraid and certainly at the mercy of the judgment of others. The religious leaders of the day were ready to condemn her. Her only hope lay in the hands of a prophet out of Galilee.

Mercy and Compassion

It’s easy for us to grow detached from history. We don’t believe people of the past could understand the complexity of our modern problems, especially people who lived 2,000 years ago. But the truth is, no matter how far you go back, human nature remains the same. In many ways, we are more alike than we are different. 

That’s why this woman’s story strikes me. We don’t know her name or where she was from. All we know about her is the thing she’s probably the least proud of. She was in the wrong—she committed adultery. She transgressed against the law. But Jesus remembered something the religious leaders seemed all too quick to forget.

“The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?" This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground.”

Each day, we serve women at The Pregnancy Network experiencing their own hardships. The hardships in the lives of modern-day women may look different, but the loneliness and shame they can bring remain the same. The fearful question of whether we’ll be met with judgment and stones or mercy and compassion still resonates.

It’s here we see Jesus bring such a different ethic than the religious leaders, the scribes, and the Pharisees, were attempting to convey. They saw this woman’s mistake and hardship and desired to see judgment. Jesus saw her and bent down. We have a God that stoops.

It’s not that Jesus didn’t care about her making healthy decisions. We know from Matthew 5:17 that Jesus did not come to get rid of the law and the prophets, but to fulfill it Himself. All of us apart from Him were unable to keep the law. Jesus’s perfect life, death, and resurrection reminds us that no one is without sin; none of us are perfect. But when we do sin, we have an advocate (1 John 2:1). In Christ alone, we can be forgiven of our greatest sin and be made new (2 Corinthians 5:17).

“And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, " Let him who is without sin among you to be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”"

In the Kingdom of God, mercy and compassion are offered to us in place of judgment and stones (2 Corinthians 5:21). Through this woman’s story, we’re reminded that each of us is unqualified to throw stones, but we have a Savior who is perfect in His compassionate care for women facing hardship. We can praise God that the only one qualified to throw stones didn’t.

A Safe Place

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Chloe Boyle

Chloe Boyle

Chloe is the Communications Coordinator at The Pregnancy Network.