Good afternoon my brothers and sisters! Today I have been asked to give a talk on one of my favorite stories of Jesus. Frankly, I find that it is a difficult task to accomplish. There are just so many wonderful stories of his miracles and teachings. Eventually, I settled on a story that can be found in John chapter 8. This is the story of the woman that was caught in the act of adultery and brought before Him. Now they say to him,
“4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.
His reaction to this was very simple. He sat on the ground and wrote in the dirt completely ignoring then. That apparently was not the kind of answer that they wanted, so they continued to pester him until he said,
“ 7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her”
and went back to writing on the ground. This must have been one of those “Could have had a V8” moments for them because we read in verse 9,
“9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.”
Now it just Jesus and the woman left. Knowing that Jesus is perfect he could have stoned her right then and there, because He said Himself “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her”. Instead, he says,
“10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.”
So what can we learn from this story? I would first like to direct our attention to the Pharisees and scribes that showed up with this woman. We read in verse 6 what their intentions were for this situation
“6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.”
They were just out to get Him. However, going over to another on of Jesus’ teachings in 3 Nephi chapter 14, we find a flaw in their plan. It reads
“ 3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother: Let me pull the mote out of thine eye—and behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
5 Thou hypocrite, first cast the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”
So lesson 1 is don't judge others. In a talk by Dieter F. Uchtdorf, he plainly illustrates what we should do when thinking about judging others.
“This topic of judging others could actually be taught in a two-word sermon. When it comes to hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges, or wanting to cause harm, please apply the following:
It’s that simple. We simply have to stop judging others and replace judgmental thoughts and feelings with a heart full of love for God and His children. God is our Father. We are His children. We are all brothers and sisters. I don’t know exactly how to articulate this point of not judging others with sufficient eloquence, passion, and persuasion to make it stick. I can quote scripture, I can try to expound doctrine, and I will even quote a bumper sticker I recently saw. It was attached to the back of a car whose driver appeared to be a little rough around the edges, but the words on the sticker taught an insightful lesson. It read, ‘Don’t judge me because I sin differently than you.’”(“The Merciful Obtain Mercy”, GC April 2012).
Something else that I want to go into is Jesus’ reaction. He forgives her. He doesn't condemn her, even though all of this evidence of her sin was placed before Him. One of the scripture masteries this year in seminary illustrates this point fantastically. It reads,
“9 Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin.
10 I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.
11 And ye ought to say in your hearts—let God judge between me and thee, and reward thee according to thy deeds.”
Note the “all men” part. We can’t go around picking and choosing who we think deserves our forgiveness. That is neither our job or in any way productive. I go through this a lot with my siblings. They will do stuff that I just don’t like and get all worked up about it. Sometimes, I do have a reason to be mad at them. But, I have realized over the many years that I have lived with them, still love them. Holding a grudge against them just puts me and everyone else in a bad mood. So I have learned to just forgive them and let it go, which isn't always easy, but really makes our home a much happier place to be. So, I now extend a challenge to each of you. In the coming future, don’t be so quick to judge others and be a little more forgiving, and see how it can improve your life, as well as the lives of those around you. (testimony and end)