Put Down Our Stones

Irony: People that are appalled by the crotch shots at the Super Bowl keeping the vag vibe alive by continuously sharing crotch shots from the Super Bowl.

I cannot tell you the number of people who are vocally aghast at the ‘blatant sexuality’ of the recent halftime set who in turn keep searching out gratuitous shots of J-Lo grabbing herself and sharing them online with captions like ‘THIS IS DISGUSTING!’ or ‘Can you believe they allowed this on television?’

But…wait, isn’t…I mean…didn’t you in essence just share the same exact thing on a public forum that offended you for being shared one a public forum…?! I have seen more shots of the two women’s bodily parts from Christians than from the secular community at large in the aftermath of the event. I don’t even remotely begin to understand the rationalization behind that. We cannot punctuate the sin of others with sin of our own!

Of course, I cannot tell you how many of those same people also binge watch the Bachelor and devoured the Fifty Shades of Gray books/movies like candy – both known and celebrated for their blatant (and immoral) sexuality. We are…cherry-picking (to use a really horrible pun!)…which sexuality offends us and which we deem acceptable while at the same time building ourselves an incredibly fancy soapbox from the sprinters we’ve plucked from our neighbors’ eyes – I mean, after we publicly stab them with the shards a few hundred times, that is.

Look, if you think sexuality is bad in our culture today, you should try giving the Old Testament the ol’ read through. It is hardcore packed with rape, adultery, incest, gang rape, sexual slavery, sexual indiscretions with angels (of all things), polygamy, and even orgies. If you can dream it up, it’s pretty much in there. I have cringed a million times as I read the text with my kids. Sexual immorality is not new; hypocrisy is not new. As a wise man once said, there’s nothing new under the sun.

In all frankness, the Super Bowl has been an adult-centered, completely secular event with a well-known history of half-dressed, booty-shaking women [and men] directly supported by the alcohol marketing industry for years. I’m not entirely sure then why we all expected the Mormon Tabernacle Choir to come out and sing a rendition of Oh Come, All Ye Faithful while wearing nun habits. Please tell me that our heads are not buried that deeply in the cultural sand. Seriously, we had to know what was coming?

I’ve come to believe that oftentimes our righteous outcries of indignation have become far more about being recognized publicly for our own appearances of piety as it compares to ‘those people’ than it really is about furthering the kingdom of God.

But then again, we’re in good historical company. For instance, Judah, celebrated descendant of Israel, slept with a shrine prostitute (an accepted practice of the Caanites) and was totally cool with it. After all, he offered the woman a goat for her…uh, services. Shortly thereafter, he condemned his daughter-in-law to death for, you guessed it, prostitution. Well until, of course, it was brought to his attention that the prostitute he had slept with WAS his daughter-in-law in disguise. And she was pregnant with his child. Big. Fat. Oops. This is Biblical, people. Sexual immorality is not new; hypocrisy is not new either. The thing is, Jesus despised BOTH of them equally.

You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery. But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” I think Jesus was telling us that, yes, yes, yes sexual immorality is absolutely unacceptable to Him, but also to be very, very careful about lobbing our self-righteous stones at random people when we all live in glass houses. No one is worthy. No, not one.

I think maybe we need to put down our stones.

Jesus shed His diety and came here to Earth because, basically, we all suck. At kindness. At Godliness. At sexual purity. At judgement. At forgiveness. Our planks are huge.

Therefore, if we are going to decide how to react to the ‘stuff’ that offends us (or perhaps even take a giant step back and decide if we should be offended at all), we are going to have to look to the only human who ever traversed this earth without blemish or sin as our prime example – Jesus.

Luckily for us, He covered all the bases because he was well aware that we were going to need some serious direction in these matters. Because, after all, we suck. For example, he once met this woman at a well in Samaria. It just so happens that she too was using her sexuality in a way that was making some men pretty darned happy but which was very unpleasing to God. Here’s what Jesus did not do: Publicly shame her, that’s what. He did not call her abhorrent names behind her back, slander her to his buddies, drag her into the square and announce her mistakes to the masses. His goal was not to humiliate her but to save her. Do you see the really important difference?

Here’s something else too. He also was not surprised that she acted in a way consistent with her broken nature, He was not shocked by the culture she was immersed in, and He was not offended by her deep brokenness. And I’m a thousand percent certain that, had social media been a thing back then, he would not have shared pictures of her crotch all over his page to prove His point either.

Jesus did not participate in her sin. The world He lived in was just as broken and sexually immoral as the one we live in today, we just have different means of exploiting it. Sex has always been a stumbling point for mankind. Read Paul’s letters if you don’t believe me. Jesus lived in a culture just as saturated with it as we do. He didn’t hide his head in the sand and live out His days secluded in a monastery on a lonely mountainside; He lived life right there with and around the broken, screwed up, booty-shaking people who needed Him desperately. BUT He also did not partake in the sinfulness with them. He set an example apart from them by His righteous actions and choices, not by means of seclusion from and certainly not defamation of others.

These are some things He didn’t do, but let’s dig deeper into this meeting and look at what he did do, which is as equally important for us.

Jesus went out of his way to show great love and respect to the woman despite the fact that he knew exactly what sexual activities she had been up to. He did something any good, clean, law abiding Jewish man would never, ever do. He purposefully cut across the despised and avoided land of Samaria – a place filled with ‘disgusting, inappropriate, unclean gentiles’ – and pursued a sexually explicit woman right where she was, sin and all. In fact, his own disciples were completely appalled by His decision, but he did it anyway. It’s really a terrific story!

He spoke kindly to and about her! He didn’t open up the conversation with accusations and slander. He didn’t gossip about her to His traveling buddies. He didn’t label her by her mistakes. In fact, she was absolutely shocked by his gentle words and kind response. This crazy Jewish Rabbi chose to show her love and kindness rather than the expected (and we might say deserved) indignation and contempt of his religious sect – absolutely unheard of! And guess what? That simple act of compassion completely changed her from the inside out. Not verbal lashing, not public name calling, not contempt and religious triteness…kindness. Not only that, but it changed everyone else that heard about it too. Kindness has an eternal ripple effect.

He earned her trust and respect through personal, face-to-face relationship. Jesus saw her and accepted her and loved her just the way she was. Listen to what I didn’t say! I didn’t say he condoned her activities. He most certainly did not. But he did not use them to condemn her either. He met her where she stood, looked into the depths of her soul, met her deepest needs to be seen, accepted, and loved… Then, after all of these other oh-so-important steps, when she was ready to absorb the truth, He shared His living water with her. The God of the Universe did not force her to change; He loved her to change. Woah.

Here’s where I’m going with all this: I guess I’m simply not shocked by the depravity of human nature, whether it’s the sexually explicit side or the overtly judgmental one, anymore. I pretty much expect humans to act like humans. After all, it’s as old as humanity itself, and the Bible has laid out our inability to be anything else other than tragically broken outside of Devine intervention in brazen clarity. Yes, myself included.

However, as Christ Followers, we do have a distinct obligation to do our very best to emanate the person of Jesus when responding to the brokenness in our world. Jesus did not once ask us to defend HIM…he asked us to defend them. He gave us some pretty potent examples to boot. We aren’t doing a great job of it though, are we?

I, for one, can’t imagine that shaming women in public forums from our pedestals of self-perceived righteousness is what Jesus meant at all when He stood between a prostitute and her accusers, looked them in the eye, and stated,

Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.

We are hopelessly, miserably, undeniably broken. Every single last one of us. Jesus knew it. He died for it.

Let’s remember that next time we pick up our stones, shall we?

Beautifully, Brokenly Yours,

Angelia