But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people were coming to Him; and He sat down and began to teach them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?” They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court. Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.”– John 8: 1-11
It seems like we live in a double standard culture. We hate being judged, yet we have all types of contests that we “judge” people and their skill. We don’t want to have our girls feel like objects, yet we celebrate beauty contests and music that degrades them and their image. We don’t want certain words to be said, but as long as it’s done in the name of “art”, it’s perfectly fine. The list can go on and on. This goes the same for forgiving people who have done wrong.
In our society it is clear that we can forgive certain people as long as they do not have a direct connection to us. We can look at examples of football players accused of murder, ignorant tweets, and other activities that have sent them to prison, only to be allowed back in to the sport and praised for their skill because they apologized. We have seen a professional golfer that has admitted to adultery and ruining his family, but he has been accepted and honored as the top golfer in the world because he apologized. Yet, when someone without celebrity status apologizes, it seems like it is harder for us to forgive them for what they did to us. What?!
Jesus had a solid response to this double standard living. The woman caught in adultery is the prime example. The very people gathered around, ready to stone and kill her, were possibly some of the very men she may have “interacted” with (got to keep it clean for the kids) in the past. What’s interesting is the fact that they had to have been peeping in on the activity to catch her in the act, which is a sin, but nobody mentions that. They just wanted to bust her and Jesus.
Jesus wasn’t going to have any of that double standard living and challenged them to think about their own sin. No one can judge anyone else, no one can hold someone accountable for actions in their past, and no one can say that they have not made mistakes. Therefore, we need to hold everyone equal. If we can forgive athletes that apologize, then we should do that for average people who do the same. There needs to be balance. Celebrity status should not constitute different standards for forgiveness. Let’s move forward. Let’s set the standard as the Church for grace and mercy, since the One we follow set that standard for us a long time ago…and continues to do so.