In Someone Else's Shoes

Readings for Monday April 11, 2011

First Reading: Daniel 13:1-9, 15-17, 19-30, 33-62
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 23
Gospel: John 8:1-11

"Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her." Again he bent down and wrote on the ground. And in response, they went away one by one, beginning with the elders. So he was left alone with the woman before him. Then Jesus straightened up and said to her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" She replied, "No one, sir." Then Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin any more." (John 8:7-11)

There is an old saying that goes, "Do not judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes." It would appear that the scribes and pharisees in today's gospel had never heard that one. They were quick to judge the woman caught in adultery and to deal with her swiftly. The scribes and pharisees were not able to see much beyond their cause and effect rule book that dictated their actions. Jesus however took a different approach, He began writing in the dirt, He didn't quickly decide or throw Himself into their anger and rage. Instead after Jesus decided to address them, He stood up and said, "Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her." While the scripture doesn't say, I imagine the silence in that area was deafening.

Instead of judgement, even though Jesus is our king and our final judge, He decided to show the people another way. He showed them the path that we should all be taking, and that is the path of mercy and forgiveness. Now, I know this may seem like a "wishy washy," "warm fuzzy" type of thing, but it is true and it is what we are all called to. The truth is, is that it is always easier for us to find fault in someone and to want to enact a penalty which we have a right to on a person, but that is the easier path. The much harder path to follow is the one of letting go of our own judgement and showing someone who has done us wrong the same mercy and forgiveness that Christ has shown us in our own lives.

Perhaps if we spent more time thinking about what it was like to be in someone else's shoes instead of judging them, we may be more likely to show the same type of mercy and forgiveness that Christ calls us to.

Father above, we thank you for the gift of this day. Lord we thank you and give you praise for all that you give and all that you do for us. Lord, help us to be humble servants for you, servants who do not look at others with judgement, but with mercy and forgiveness. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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