Am I without sin?

by Shiu Lan
Fifth Sunday of Lent

Isaiah 43:16-21

Philippians 3:8-14

John 8:1-11

Today’s Gospel Reading is about a woman caught in adultery. She was brought before Jesus when he was teaching in the temple. The scribes and Pharisees made the woman stand before the people to test Jesus about the law prescribed by Moses that women committing such acts were to be stoned.

Like all Gospel passages, the moral of the story is timeless. What strikes me the most in this story is how easy it is for me to judge others while it is very difficult if not impossible to judge myself. I compare myself with others and easily conclude that I am better than that other person. I am more generous, charitable, forgiving, I have greater faith and all in all, I think I am doing better than that other person in the eyes of God. I am not able to use the standard I judge others to judge myself. I am strict and harsh to others while very lenient to myself.

Jesus’ reaction in the story “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7) is a challenge to the world until this day. Whenever I am tempted to judge, let me be reminded of Jesus’ challenge to the people in the temple. Am I without sin? It should be simple enough to remember: am I without sin?

Just by not condemning others, we are closer to Jesus who promised that “Neither do I condemn you … from now on do not sin again”. (John 8:11) This promise is particularly encouraging and relevant to us in the Lenten season, the season of reconciliation with our Lord Jesus Christ who came down from heaven, was crucified and suffered death for our salvation.