They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” John 8:7
Last night I was on the floor in the dark waiting for what I can only describe as a “spark of inspiration.” Nothing had come to me yet. I did not have a busy day yesterday, but sometimes those are the days where I feel the most drained.
You might be asking why I mentioned the moment I was lying on the ground in the dark as a suitable introduction. It is because, as my face was tucked into my arms, I was reminded of a story that struck me as a corrective reminder of forgiveness. I hope you remember what I mentioned a couple of weeks ago when in the letter to my past self, I shared how it was important to forgive daily until you have healed completely. And lately like so many of us, I held on to my frustration against someone who has not been a part of my life for a while now.
From my perspective, I saw this person as selfish and a liar. I could see right through their stories of how busy they were. This person meant a lot to me, but looking back, I was less than a good friend in exchange. In fact, I could go as far as to say I was the selfish one in the end. In selfishness, I did what any person without integrity would do. I threw shade at the situation. I threw shade at the person. I spoke ill about them behind their back and to them as much I could. I had anger. I was bitter.
Throw shade: the action of publicly criticizing a person, usually a friend.
Like I mentioned before, people have their seasons of growth at different times. I look back and sometimes I have to find the strength to accept my foolishness without condemnation. Something else I have learned is that there will not always be a place for closure. Sometimes a prayer is all you can give.
As a kid, I remember watching Pinocchio. When the song “When You Wish Upon a Star” came on, I used to walk to my window as soon as it was dark and search for a star. I would look at the moon and just hope with everything in my tiny self. I did not have a wish to offer the star, but I would hold my closed hands to my chest and squeeze my eyes shut. I wanted something beyond my known world. I have always been this way and honestly, I pray that part of me never changes.
I would go back and if I could, I would ask God to teach me to be a better person every opportunity I had to be one. I know little Norma had no intention in ever hurting anyone. She would cry at the idea of any friend being less than special to her world. Throwing anything upon a person, good or bad would be out of her character.
As the Pharisees threw the woman before the crowd of people, Jesus did not see a criminal. He saw a person who had a name. Allow me to give her a nickname. Let us call her Bethany. Bethany was not perfect. In fact, she sounds like she made her fair share of bad decisions. We do not know how she was caught with another man, because none of that mattered to Jesus. He saw Bethany and he saw her as someone in need of love and healing from brokeness. As Jesus asked the people around her to only throw a stone at her if they were without sin, Bethany probably winced a little with expectation of feeling pain from the stones. No one took action and instead they walked away. Jesus approached her and forgave her. She left unchanged on the outside, but was renewed within.
How many times do we find ourselves in new clothes or with a new hairstyle just to cover up the fact that we have something within ourselves that has yet to be improved? After my haircut and color change, I know I still go to bed and wake up the same Norma in need of a career and a degree, and sometimes I still look up out of my window when I can and look for the moon or a star. This time I talk to God. I listen to Him in hope and I have faith that everything in my life is just as it should be as long as I am doing what I am supposed to do daily.