They’re certainly entitled to think that, and they’re entitled to full respect for their opinions, but before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.
~Harper Lee, from ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’
It has always been hard to see a wrong and call the crowd to accountability. Whether it’s lynching, ostracizing or just plain bullying, mob mentality drives horrific behavior. It’s all a world of double standards, and they are a fearful thing. They allow you to hold diametrically aligned but contrasting views in the cradle of your mind with no moral angst whatsoever. It takes children a while to get the hang of it, but not long. The problem, of course, is that we all are guilty and remedy requires a hard lonesome fight against the resolute crowd.
Jesus faced down mobs all of His life, and as His followers we must do the same. It’s not always the lynch mob faced by Atticus Finch, but it might be your lunch group, gossiping about someone else, or perhaps it’s just laughing at another person’s expense. When Christ defended the woman caught in adultery, he challenged the crowd with “let he who is without sin cast the first stone” (John 8:7). It worked that time and the crowd disbursed, but He was willing to be hit by the same stones for her sake.
That’s what it means to have the heart of Christ.
“But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people were coming to Him; and He sat down and began to teach them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. “Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?” They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court. Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.””