Read John 8:1-11

I’m often asked why I became a vegetarian.  I wish I could give a more noble answer, but the truth is, I became a vegetarian because of a girl.  I was interested in dating her, and we watching a movie called Food Inc together.  She had been a vegetarian for several years, and at the time, I had no intentions of becoming one.  In fact, I was a proud meat consumer.  I loved it, and couldn’t imagine what it would be like to become a vegetarian.  But as I watched horrifying sciences of animal brutality beside my vegetarian girlfriend, I became convicted, and knew I needed to change the way I thought about food.  I decided I would become a vegetarian.

For me, it’s all or nothing.  When I wanted to be a musician I packed up and moved to Nashville.  When I wanted to fast and pray I didn’t eat solid food for forty days.  When I became a cyclist, I rode 500 miles to Natchez, MS from Nashville, TN.  I camped with a couple of friends for 6 nights in closed parks along the way.  Some people write me off as crazy, but I live with passion and walk wholeheartedly into things that light me on fire.  So, when I gave up meat and became a vegetarian, I threw out all the food I didn’t understand and started over.  I even quit working for myself and got a job at a local vegetarian restaurant and ended up rooming with the owners.

I go all in.

I remember the first time I visited my family after my decision to eat only veggies.  They didn’t know how to cook for me, so I cooked for myself.  I watched my dad dump what seemed like a pound of salt onto his potatoes, and I got worried.  I told him it was a dangerous amount of salt and if he wasn’t careful he could have heart problems in the future.  I walked to my uncle’s house.  He was hooked up to an oxygen machine, struggling to breathe after opening the front door.  I talked to him about his diet, sharing my new discoveries, and pleading with him to eat less meat.  In my mind, I was helping him, because less meat could mean better health and an improved quality of life.

But I had a secret.  I was hooked on nicotine.  After my conversation with my uncle, I walked to the local park to light a cigarette.  In some ways I was practicing better health than him, but in other ways, I was ruining my own body.  I thought I could fix the people around me, but I was broken and needed fixing myself.  It took me years to break away from my addiction to nicotine, and I’m not sure I ever conquered my addiction to self-exaltation.

Isn’t that what this passage is really about?

After readying Jesus’ words, calling all of us to drop our stones because no one is innocent, I think about different times in my life I have spoken over others because I thought my ideas were more important, or pointed out things I didn’t agree with because my wrongs were hidden and theirs weren’t.  I remember times when I have felt more worthy and deserving to label myself a Christian than others who claimed to be.

It turns out, the only prerequisite to being Christian is to admit our brokenness before Christ and lean into Him.  He is our fixer, our healer, the only one that makes us whole.  We are all in this together, and none of us can claim to be more worthy than someone else.

The Gospel made sense after I read this passage.  The only person without sin in the circle of death was Jesus.  He was the only one qualified to throw stones, and He never even picked one up.

  1. Identify your skeletons.  What are you hiding in your closet?  Is it time to start addressing some of these things?  Is it time to get help from someone you trust?
  2. Have you ever been in the middle of the circle of death with accusers all around you?  How did you make it through?
  3. What opportunities have you had to show mercy instead of condemnation?

Day 5 of 8 from the 2016 Mission Discovery Devotional