casting stones

Sitting there, in the comfort of my private family room, watching Lance Armstrong confess his sins on public television, the edges of my mouth tightened in disgust.

God help me, that was my first reaction–not pity, not sorrow for him, but disgust at the size of his sin, (as if there is such a thing as a lesser sin).

That was the first stone I threw.

I lobbed the second one, when I rolled my eyes at my husband moments later and declared Lance’s confession to be a sham–an angle he’s playing in an effort to further control the public’s opinion of him.

I further exalted myself, when I boldly proclaimed that he couldn’t control my opinion, that I could see through his political charade disguised as an apology.

The third stone had barely left my mouth when the heat of conviction engulfed me.

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. This truth erupted in my heart.

Standing there, bent over the ironing board, I got quiet.

I shook my head. Father forgive me, I cannot believe myself.

I have no right to these cynical assumptions. Where is the Christian who hopes for contrition?

I don’t know what Lance’s confession fully says about him, but I know what my reaction to it says about me.  

I shake my head in disgust as Jesus’ words echo in my heart:

 If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her. John 8:17

My foolishness pains me. Though my sins aren’t fodder for the entertainment news and daytime talk shows–they are not hidden from God.

My reaction broke my own heart, as I’m sure it grieved God’s. I’d wrongfully hoisted myself up onto the judgment seat and acted as if I had the right to determine the sincerity of his apology. I slammed my crooked gavel down and made my ruling.

You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:5

I thought I knew better than this. I thought I’d laid that bulky bag of stones down. How far I have yet to go.

As the Lenten season draws to a close, we’re plodding slowly towards the crucifixion and I hear myself in the crowd at Pilate’s feet–Crucify Him! I scream. I am the crowd. I am the face of the one who accuses–and yet He hangs for me. Jesus looks at the crowd of sinners and haters and climbs full up onto the cross and spreads His arms to welcome me in.

I weep.

My salt tears can’t save me.

My confession can’t undo what has been done.

Even in all my self-righteousness, Jesus reaches across sky and earth to hold me. He forgives me. He gives me grace.

I am undone by His offering, because I know who I am–

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners–of whom I am the worst. (1 Timothy 1:15)

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As a sequin-wearing, homeschooling, mops-coordinating mother of four, Kris Camealy is passionate about Jesus and her family. Her heart beats to share the hard, but glorious truth about  life in Christ with anyone who will listen. When she's not writing, she gobbles up books like they're going out of print and plays in the kitchen. She's been known to take gratuitous pictures of her culinary creations, causing mouths to water all across Instagram. Once upon a time, she ran 10 miles for Compassion International, a ministry for which she serves as an advocate. You can read more of her heart-words in her new book, Holey, Wholly, Holy: A Lenten Journey of Refinement, and on her blog Kris

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  1. “I don’t know what Lance’s confession fully says about him, but I know what my reaction to it says about me. ” Wow, that is right on for all of life… thanks!

    • KrisCamealy

      Bless you Barbara. Thanks for reading, kind friend.

  2. Such a sobering post Kris, especially as I ponder walking out my faith during Holy Week. Thanks for your honesty and integrity here, it inspires.

    • KrisCamealy

      This post makes me feel a little queasy, baring my ugly like this, but if it somehow encourages others, than it’s worth it, I suppose, to be uncomfortable. I am so thankful for your encouragement, and praying for you, as you seek His face this week in particular, Shelly.

  3. Beautiful. Just beautiful. Welcome back 😉

    • KrisCamealy

      ((hugs)) Thanks, Sarah. I missed my online family. Praying for you, my friend. Lent is hard.

  4. That is powerful. We were just having this discussion with our sons last night at the dinner table. This was sobering for me…I think I will let them read this too.

    • KrisCamealy

      Louise, so great to hear about you discussing these things with your boys. We are also having these discussions here. We’ve been talking a lot about humility lately, not the easiest lesson to embed into our hearts–but a MUST, none-the-less. Praying for you as you lead your children.

  5. I need this reminder.

    And I’ll need it again tomorrow, too–if not later today.

    Thank you, Kris.

    • KrisCamealy

      Me too, Sheila. I write this as much for myself as for anyone. I will need the reminder again and again. Bless you, sweet friend.

  6. Kelli Woodford

    This is lovely in its brokenness, Kris.

    You remind me of this quote: “All human nature vigorously resists grace because grace changes us and the change is painful.” (F.O’Connor)

    Thank you for bringing us back to grace, painful though it may be.

    • KrisCamealy

      I love that quote, Kelli. and have found it to be SO true in my own life. I can’t tell you how much I wrestle with grace–I shared some it in my book, but the wrestle continues, it’s deep and long, but I know God IS with me in it, which is so comforting. Someday we will see Him face to face and maybe then, we’ll get it. thanks for your encouragement.

  7. How I love your transparency friend. Never lose the ability to be humbled by a Clay-Shaper’s hands. Never lose the ability to be open to your brothers and sisters (The Body of fumbling members) for in such practice you open wide the arms of grace to us in our own sin. To confess and be washed and see stunning in loss.

    I see your words and you brazenly put forth your heart. And that…that friend of mine, is spectacular. How you are modeling faith for this sinner in me.

    • KrisCamealy

      Ahh, transparency. it is an uncomfortable place He has called me to–but it’s good, for His glory! All for Him.

  8. It is always uncomfortable when I see myself in an unflattering light…doing exactly what I criticize others for doing. Thank you for your transparency friend…I wrote about casting the first stone a few weeks ago. It was an uncomfortable experience.

    • KrisCamealy

      Yes, always uncomfortable, indeed. I can only shake my head at the way I still mess this life up, the mistakes I make again and again, the obnoxious sin of pride–the Lord is faithful to humble and refine me. So good to see you here, Mary. (hugs)

  9. Ahhh, tossed a few stones myself during that interview…

    • KrisCamealy

      (hugs) Thanks for being real, Amy.

  10. This has been where I’m at, too…thinking of “sinful woman” who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and poured perfume on them…and Jesus’ heated argument with Simon the Pharisee about it. How she gets it more because her sins made grace more extreme (my own translation, but I trust you see what I’m saying)….point is: I’m just as dirty…if not more because my sins aren’t aired over public television. ugh…

  11. Thank you for that gentle reminder that even in the privacy of our own home or own thoughts a stone can be thrown. Thank God for His never-ending mercy and grace.

    • KrisCamealy

      Indeed, Rachel. We have to check our thoughts constantly. Bless you, friend.

  12. This has been on the forefront of my mind for a while. Even when we come face to face with grace, it is easy to slip into the judge’s seat, wielding that crooked gavel. Praise God for his patience and his grace to show us a better way!

  13. Hi Kris,
    Thank you for a timely reminder to live in the light and let the Holy Spirit search my soul to reveal the muck that lies in there. I definitely live in a glass house and should be the last to throw stones, yet I still do.

    • KrisCamealy

      I know what you mean, Mike. I am trying very hard to be conscious of these sort of moments, and to hold my words and thoughts rather than pitching stones so freely–so recklessly. I must be diligent. Thanks for reading, my friend.

  14. I know this story well. If I had access to all the stones I’ve thrown, I could probably build a house – a mansion, even. Oh, for the love of grace and mercy that saved a wretch like me. Beautifully shared, Kris. Thank you.

    • KrisCamealy

      I know what you mean, Patricia. I am actually really thankful that God doesn’t dump all of my stones out in front of me. I am certain I would be horrified at the sheer quantity. He is so good to forgive.

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