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.
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)