But then Jesus said, "The one without sin among you should be the first to throw a stone at her."
One by one the accusers left until Jesus and the woman were alone. "Go and sin no more," he said.
I love this story. It represents a point in time when ancient Mosaic traditions clashed with a different, emerging perspective. Obviously, the story is about charity, wisdom and justice. More than that, it's a story of humility and forgiveness.
Humility is related to strong self-esteem. In addition to acknowledging your strengths, you remember your weaknesses. You take a balanced, realistic view of yourself. Acting this way isn't easy.
That's why humility is a personal strength.
I've written about forgiveness before. But this story reminded me that every single day I encounter behavior that causes me to feel the edge of criticism and censure and am tempted to react harshly. But then I realize that I myself have done the very things that irritate me. In other words, I too am imperfect and fallible. I am not "without sin."
- I've taken unnecessary risks.
- I've interrupted people.
- I've failed to do things I promised to do.
- I've forgotten to stay in touch with friends.
- I've closed my mind to opinions contrary to my own.
- I've lost my temper.
- I've indulged in unhealthy foods.
- I've wasted time.
- I've procrastinated.
- I've avoided doing unpleasant tasks.
- I've avoided acknowledging unpleasant truths.
Every time I've remembered to be humble and to forgive the failings of others, every time I've let my harsh feelings go, I've felt a heavy load lifted from my spirit. And I didn't have to suffer the damage to relationships that comes from acting in a harsh or arrogant manner.
Surely these benefits have added years to my life.
Post by Dennis E. Coates, Ph.D., Copyright 2013. Building Personal Strength .