let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8: 7)
The account of Jesus’ dealing with the woman caught in adultery is a lesson that our culture, and perhaps many Christians, need to be reminded of.
Earlier this week, the media revealed that Jamie Lynn Spears, who is 16 years old, is pregnant by her 18 or 19 year old “long time” boyfriend. The coverage on the television tabloids and even legitimate news organizations like Fox News has been frequent and consistent, with both updates on the story and interviews and panels of “experts.” But the greatest revelation may be the exposure of the character of our culture that consumes and apparently revels in this kind of story. We ought to be ashamed of ourselves for any reaction that we have, apart from a humble introspection of our fallen nature and ceaseless gratitude for the forgiveness of our own sins.
At its core, the fact that Jamie Lynn is pregnant and not married is an indication of the presence of sin. But being pregnant and unmarried makes her no worse a sinner than anyone else who has engaged in any form of sexual activity outside the bounds of a heterosexual, covenantal (that is, married) relationship. So, Jamie Lynn’s premarital sex is no greater sin than extramarital sex, co-habitational sex, homosexual sex, friends-with-benefits sex, and so on and so on. Nor is Jamie Lynn’s sin any greater, according to Jesus, than LUST (Matt 5: 28). Oops, that last one covers a lot of ground and envelopes, dare I say, ALL mankind?
The hypocrisy surrounding this story has been almost breathtaking. The media have certainly done their part to fan the flames. But they are just an easy target to lay blame on for the fact that this story still has legs. The media is just a reflection of the culture it serves. Yes, the media often times has an agenda they try to advance, but ultimately, they are suppliers of a product and service that is being consumed. If consumers stop buying it, the media will stop supplying it. So, by that reasoning, our culture is really the center-ground of the hypocrisy.
Our culture is voyeuristic and unsympathetic. How about a little concern for a young girl who finds herself in a very difficult situation, made even more so by the fact that it is being played out, literally, on a world-wide stage. How many of us would like for our life’s difficulties (and our sins) to be exposed to the judgment and criticism of the entire planet? The fact that a righteous God is aware of our misconduct and misdeeds ought to be the chief source of our grieving over personal sin. But would any of us like for our failures to be reported on and analyzed ad nauseum by people around the globe? I suspect the answer is no.
So rather than clucking our indignation (and even condemnation), perhaps we should be praying for Jamie Lynn on a number of fronts. First that she find redemption and forgiveness not just for this incident, but for all of her fallen nature. Secondly, that she have a complication-free pregnancy and a healthy baby. Thirdly, for patience and wisdom in dealing with a culture that is all too quick to judge and way too slow to support. And finally, a prayer of thanksgiving. Not for the disobedience that has resulted in her current situation, but rather by the appearance that she has chosen LIFE for her baby rather than death. It is more than just a little ironic that by going public, she is being subjected to the level of scrutiny and criticism she is facing, when had she chosen privately to have an abortion, it is entirely possible that no one in the public would have ever known about it.
So, is anyone really prepared to throw a stone at her?