“Saving, Not Stoning, Sinners” The Medical Missionary 14, 1.
These well-known but little-heeded words of Christ, the model Medical Missionary, are of great importance to every missionary. The missionary necessarily comes in contact with people who, in a marked manner, have departed from the narrow way; and the medical missionary, especially, has to do with those persons whose wrong-doing has made itself apparent by its effect on their bodies. Now the constant danger is, that seeing and handling these who seem to be sinner above others, we may become critical and pharisaical, and thereby unfit ourselves for the work which we may have spent years in training to do. The effect of this counsel from our Saviour is, if heeded, to make us very considerate of those whose sins constitute their strongest plea for help from us, because it reminds us that we are all sharers in one common, fallen humanity.MEDM January 1905, page 2.2
“But I do not do the things that I condemn,” we are very likely to say. Perhaps not: but the question is, Do we indulge in some other sin, which doesn’t seem so bad to us, because it is our own? If so, then we are most certainly out of place in casting stones at our neighbor, and will find that sooner or later they will rebound and strike us. “Judge not, that ye be not judged; for with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete it shall be measured to you again.”MEDM January 1905, page 2.3
While a specific sin was under consideration when the Saviour spoke the words of our text, he did not say, Let him that has no committed this sin cast the first stone, but, “He that is without sin.” There was no specification as to the kind. Anybody who has sin is disqualified for sitting in judgment upon any other sinner. All sin is one, and he who condemns another condemns himself. “For He that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.”MEDM January 1905, page 2.4
In our narrowness of view we often make differences where there are none. The drunkard has long been held up to the public gaze for pity and condemnation and the sin of drunkenness is by no means to be minimized, for we are assured that no drunkard has inheritance in the kingdom of God; but it is well to note wherein lies the essential evil of drunkenness. Is it not in this, that the drunkard is the slave of his appetite? Many do not consent in their minds to be drunkards, and would gladly be free, and determine to break the bonds; but when they pass a saloon or get the smell of liquor, or feel a desperate craving, their resolution breaks down, and they indulge again, “just this once.” The trouble is with the will. Now wherein is the difference between the victim of alcoholic liquor and the one who indulges his appetite for anything else against his better judgment? Both are slaves to appetite; only there is this difference,-that the slaves to alcohol are usually more unwilling slaves than are those who eat to gratify a perverted appetite, and not the legitimate, real demands of the body.MEDM January 1905, page 2.5
This is only one point; there are many others where we can make a similar application; and the effect of the Saviour’s words, if kept in mind, is to make us more charitable for our neighbors and more strenuous with ourselves. Well for us and for the world is it that while our sinful nature makes it impossible for us to judge others, it does not prevent us from working for their salvation. The work of the Gospel has been committed to sinners, so much so that even He “who knew no sin” had to be made sin for us, in order that he might save us from sin. We are best able to help others while conscious of our own failings, and while struggling, in God’s strength, against them.MEDM January 1905, page 2.6
One thing should not be forgotten, and that is, that even if we get so pharisaical as honestly to believe that we are not as other men are, we have no divine warrant for judging, for Christ, the sinless One, did not cast stones. He said, “I came not to condemn the world, but to save the world,” and the two things can not possibly go together. So then, “Let all your things be done with charity.”MEDM January 1905, page 2.7