She sat crying softly, forehead scrunched in pain. Her pain was of one being stoned without stones. Defensive words cast and accusing words tore her soul doing damage far beyond what sharp rock edges can do to flesh. Soul wounds are invisible wounds but they bleed and they don’t heal without help. Help is what I was there to give. Eyes are what He helped me open. Hearts are what He softened so soul suturing could begin.
People who cast stones are hurting souls trying not to be hurt anymore. They cast what they do not want to bear. And, ironically, we so often cast what we don’t even intend. We cast out of our own pain, out of our own fears, so often with intentions of helping, not harming. But sarcastic words, blaming words, if-you-would-only-change words, never accomplish anything but pushing people away, further away. Is that what we want?
Maybe. Maybe we want people pushed further away because then we can insulate ourselves from fear of harm. We can stand self-righteous and continue to blame others, to stone others with our condemning thoughts and words, all in an effort to preserve our fragile glass-house hearts, though we say we’re only trying to help, that our intentions are good.
Jesus knows the heart. He knew the hearts of those about to throw real stones at the woman caught in adultery. He knew they loved the Law more than the heart. But Christ sees beyond the Law. He embraces Holy Law but He sees beyond. He knows holy Law can’t save. Only Perfect Love can save. And when Perfect Love comes and fills true, Jesus knows holy Law will be loved as well because Holy Law is what keeps us in Perfect Love. God is love. God is just. Love and Law are inseparable. Love without Law is chaos. Law without Love is stony.
And so we are working, we are practicing holding our stones and looking into what feels like stony hearts. But looks and feelings can be so deceptive, so surface. Beneath the looks and feel of stone are soft flesh hearts afraid. Like porcupines afraid of harmful predators, quills raise prickly, warning to keep distance when really, humans don’t want distance. We want to be safe. We want to be heard. We want to be understood. We want to be loved–to feel really, truly loved–even in our imperfections. And deep down, those who really want to grow, will open their minds and hearts and eventually turn from all that hinders growth.
I saw people wanting to grow. I saw the wounded on the inside, willing to lay down their stones to listen–to hear hearts that have been bleeding for quite some time. And I heard apologies for pain caused unaware. I saw relief. I saw, maybe for the first time ever, hearts connecting true, though there is more work to do. Loving isn’t easy. Loving is hard work. Loving isn’t for cowards. Loving is for the brave, for the committed, who can put their own hearts on hold for the sake of loving another. That’s sacrifice. Christ sacrificed. Jesus put aside His own comforts and took on agony–body, mind, and soul–for the sake of Love. For He so loved the world that He gave Himself–body, mind, and soul. And this is what we’re called to do. This sacrificial love is the only love that heals others and us.
We can’t purchase our salvation because only Perfect can save imperfect. But once we KNOW Jesus, once we walk awhile with Jesus and learn of Him and ask Him to come in and commune with us–body, mind, and soul–we become more and more like Him in Love. And then there is no need for stones. Because Perfect Love casts out all fear and fear is what leads to stone throwing. Cast out fear and hands that hold stones open right along with hearts. Stony hearts become warmed by the love of Christ and stones stop being cast. Instead, stones soften and round and come together–never losing their individual beauty. They join and begin making mosaic art–art created by the holy hand of God. And all art reflects the mind, body, and soul of its artist. We are art. Who is our Maker? Whose are the hands who are forming us? Ours? Others? If we want to be beautiful, shall we not put the lumps of hardened clay we are into the warm and tender and genius hands of the greatest Artist and watch what He does with us? Surely, He will not leave us as stones. Surely, He will breathe His holy breath right into and though. And we will be healed. And we will heal. Because when we invite God–his love and his law–into our hearts and into our relationships, we get that for which we have forever longed. We get faith and hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. Always love.