Jesus hits the target.

(John 8.1-20 continued)
Jesus said to them, “Let anyone among you who is without sin throw the first stone at her.” And once again he bent down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the elders.

Discernment (what Jesus did) as opposed to judgmentalism (what the leaders did) is risky. Discernment does not go by appearances; it listens in prayer for God’s direction. Discernment looks at the whole person and creates opportunities for that person to enjoy a life that changes for the better. Discernment, in looking at another, always acknowledges the sinfulness in myself. Discernment is harder and demands more of oneself.

I do not want to be stuck in judgmentalism, but sometimes I am.

Roberta Bondi has written (To Pray and to Love, p.109):
“Judgmentalism destroys community; it destroys those who do the judging, and, even more seriously,…it often destroys (and certainly excludes from community) the one who is judged. On a small scale judgmentalism often destroys marriages, families, and churches. On a wider scale it provides the major fuel of racism, sexism, neglect of the poor, and national self-righteousness. Judgmentalism for this reason as a breach of love is as serious as any other sin we might commit against one another.”

How are we freed from a judging spirit?

Again Roberta Bondi writes ( p.112):
“Cultivating the virtue of seeing ourselves as sinners is a major source of healing the wounds of judgmentalism in our hearts…Knowing that I am a sinner means taking seriously the knowledge that we all do or at least are capable of terrible things. The monastic teachers were quite certain that it is not possible to love other people unless we understand at a very deep level that our human failings in the area of love put us all in the same boat.”

I wonder what would happen if followers of Jesus took judgementalism as seriously as being unfaithful to one’s spouse. Apparently Jesus took it seriously.