The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now, what do you say?" They were using this question as a trap, to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her." Again, he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" "No one, sir," she said. "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin." - John 8:3-11
One of my biggest fears that I struggle with on a normal basis is rejection. I’m so afraid people will look at me, maybe even get to know me, and then reject me. I’m afraid they won’t like me. This has led me to stay to myself most of the time. I’ll also only show people what I want them to see in me. There’s a lot that a lot of people don’t know about me and it’s because I’m afraid I’ll be rejected if it becomes known.
I’m also afraid that one day God will turn away from me, running out of mercy and love for me, rejecting me. I don’t know why I have this fear of rejection. I don’t know why I struggle with it daily. But it’s honesty one reason why the Bible verses above are some of my favorites! If you are anything like me, with the fear of rejection, maybe you’ll come to love these verses too.
These verses highlight the importance of mercy and forgiveness. Those who are sinless can cast the first stone. This may sound harsh, but what a lovely reminder that we all fall short. Not one of us is perfect.
That person I’m afraid will reject me is no different than me.
Did any of them throw a stone? No, because they recognized something. They recognized that, just like the woman, they were sinners too. My sin may look different than your sin, but it’s still sin. Am I going to see your sin and call you out, judge you? Reject you? No, because that would mean I’m saying in a roundabout way that I’m sinless. Which I’m not.
But how many people have tried to throw a stone your way? How many times have you picked up a stone, ready to throw it? See the more we become aware of the sins in our life, the less we’ll pick up stones to throw at others. We’ll walk away like the teachers of the law and the Pharisees did. They showed mercy.
No one condemned her. Did she deserve condemnation? According to the law, yes. But mercy was shown because sin was recognized.
When you recognize your sinful nature, you will be better equipped to extend mercy to others who are also struggling with sin.
So once the Pharisees and teachers of the law left Jesus and the woman, what happened? “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you.” Then neither does he condemn her. Neither does he condemn you. He’s not going to later condemn you. He doesn’t lie. This compassion, mercy, forgiveness, and love will lead to our changed lives. We will leave the life of sin. We’ll do that because we were shown mercy.
How does all this relate to the fear of rejection? Easy. I’m no different than you, and you’re no different than me. We’re all sinners. So why cast stones or fear stones are being thrown our way?
The woman’s adultery came to light. She must have been frightened. The Pharisees were mad and at first judgmental. They didn’t like her. They were going to kill her. But God. The Pharisees recognized their sinful nature. They walked away.
No one’s perfect. There are going to be things about me that you don’t like or agree with. Just as there might be things I won’t like about you. But that doesn’t mean we reject each other. Far from it. Some of my best friends started with me not liking them. Shoot, I’ve had a friend tell me straight out that at first, she didn’t like me and said that I was scary to her. But we became friends anyway.
So please keep fighting that fear. Keep fighting the fear of rejection. Because real genuine people won’t reject you. Maybe at first, they won’t like you, but then they’ll realize their ways that aren’t so different from yours. They’ll throw down their stones and walk away.
And even if they don’t. Because there will be some who won’t realize their sinful nature just yet. God will not reject you. God will not condemn you. He’s loving, merciful, forgiving, and compassionate. Of course, he wants you to better your life, to walk away from old ways. But he won’t go back on his word. He never has and never will.
Do you see why I love the verses at the beginning of this post now? No one’s perfect. Not everyone will try to reject you. And some that do try might even become your friend. And most importantly, the only one qualified to throw a stone will never lift one in his hands to strike you with. God bless.