Glass Houses

Read This Week: John 8

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again, he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” – John 8:6-11 NIV

For years, an old proverb has circulated in Eastern Europe: “those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.” This profound saying is not about glass and stones but about hypocrisy and the duplicitous holding of others to a standard that we don’t adhere to ourselves. In other words, those guilty of and susceptible to criticism on specific issues should not criticize or point fingers at others about the same problems. This proverb is good, but the words of Jesus in John 8 to the teachers of the law and the Pharisees came beforehand and are more powerful. 

The Lord just sat down to teach the people who had gathered around him, and this band of religious hypocrites brought a woman into the circle in verses 4-5 and said, Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now, what do you say? The Scriptures say this display and question had nothing to do with spiritual discipline or righting a wrong involving a sinful act. The exhibition was to trap Jesus into saying something that would violate the law so they could build their case to stop him and his ministry.

Not only was this group hypocritically embarrassing this woman caught in adultery and seeking to stone her, but they didn’t even care about her or the outcome. They were using her to manipulate and entrap Jesus. This is how unaware, blind, and damaging self-righteousness and deception can be. It causes people to lose themselves and willingly exploit the shortcomings, sin, and brokenness of another for personal gain. It shields the eyes from seeing the truth about oneself while only spotting the failures of another. It drives people to throw stones while ironically living in glass houses.

But of course, Jesus knows this about the human condition and the Pharisees and religious leaders. He says to them in the heat of the moment, Let any one of you without sin be the first to throw a stone at her. The Lord discerned their hearts and knew their motives. He also knew that many of them were guilty of the same thing the woman was. One may have been guilty of it with her. So he confronts their ugly scheme and blatant hypocrisy by challenging them to cast the first stone if they are without sin while knowing none of them are. He shows them the truth about themselves and effectively clears the room.

Verse 9 says, At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. It was just Jesus, and the woman left behind because they were the only ones standing in truth. The woman’s sin was in the light, and Jesus embodied the truth in every way. The hypocrites and finger pointers had scattered in light of the truth.

Jesus was the only One with the right to condemn the woman. He was sinless and the only One with the eternal, righteous qualifications to stone her. But he did not. He said, Neither do I condemn you. That’s the real beauty of grace and forgiveness and the opposite of hypocrisy. It does not exploit sin; it rectifies it. Christ forgave her sin. He didn’t dismiss it as though it had no account, but it is clear that the basis on which our Lord said these words is that He had found a way to forgive this woman her sin and set her free. He said, Go now and leave your life of sin. The hypocrites went away in shame; the woman went away in freedom. 

When we deny our tendencies toward hypocrisy and correctly hold people accountable for their sins and restore them by the grace of God, they are liberated. Our prayer should be that the Holy Spirit shows us the truth about ourselves and those around us. That we are conscious of our sins while recognizing them in others and do not condone wrong behavior in our lives as much as we do in our neighbors. And when sin gets called out in another, may we respond with grace and forgiveness instead of sightless and self-gratifying condemnation. May we not throw stones while living in glass houses.


  1. Jeri Centers on October 18, 2022 at 7:26 pm

    John 8 verse 12
    Anyone who struggles to understand the world needs only look to Christ!! In Christ all the questions are answered. How did we get here? What’s wrong with the World? How can it be fixed? What is the meaning of life? How should we live? Jesus tells us still today that to look to Him to find the answers to all questions.

    God is saying too you and me!!
    I am the word and I am the way the truth, and the life. To refuse to follow Me is to continue to walk in some kind of darkness. To follow Me is to see what is ahead, immediately and eternally into the future. And My light of life shows how to walk in Me until I return. Loving Me with all your heart Soul and Strength. The light shows you how to die to ourselves that you might live true life abundantly in Me forever and ever.

  2. Ken on October 19, 2022 at 8:58 am

    I remember in Matthew God asking us why we are looking at the speck of sawdust in another’s eye, while not paying attention to the plank of wood in our own. Being judgey tends to backfire, because none of us are perfect. I love the grace and mercy of Jesus and I need it every day of my life, because I’m definitely not close to being perfect. However, I am so happy to be forgiven by the Lord. May all of us have the grace and mercy of Christ for others.

  3. Javaid Ahmed on October 19, 2022 at 12:29 pm

    God drew my attention to John 8 Verse 7-11 AMPC

    7 However, when they persisted with their question, He raised Himself up and said, Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.
    8 Then He bent down and went on writing on the ground with His finger.
    9 They listened to Him, and then they began going out, conscience-stricken, one by one, from the oldest down to the last one of them, till Jesus was left alone, with the woman standing there before Him in the center of the court.
    10 When Jesus raised Himself up, He said to her, Woman, where are your accusers? Has no man condemned you?
    11 She answered, No one, Lord! And Jesus said, I do not condemn you either. Go on your way and from now on sin no more.

    He said to me, “Releasing your ego is the first and one of the most important steps of setting your heart free from the constraints of this world. You are not above or below anyone in this world, however, how you carry yourself and what actions you take positions you either closer or further away with me in Heaven. I want you next to me, close to me, forever peaceful with overflowing bliss.”

    What this means to me is that man-made religion, laws and rituals are leveled in a single sentence from Jesus. Nobody is clean from sin however we can be free from sin and be closer to God with our actions. To judge based on worldly ways is a fallacy. “Leave your life of sin”

  4. Alma on October 20, 2022 at 12:27 pm

    This week in John chapter 8 I got a song
    The light
    We praise you we praise you we are coming together praising you our Lord your the light of the world you’re the light of the world taking the darkness away walking with you even on a cloudy day your our light,our joy giving us peace we trust in you knowing the truth knowing you’re the way bringing light in the darkness joy in our sadness peace when we have fear we praise you we are praising you coming together to praise you our Lord amen

    Sometimes we can be in the dark for all different kind of reasons but with God he will help you and me to see the light. Thank you Lord.

  5. Heidi on October 24, 2022 at 11:21 pm

    This Song Forgiveness
    Is what it is all about
    Having mercy for others is what we want like Jesus did for this woman and He continues to have for us it’s a gift forgiveness
    We want to learn continuously to forgive because I know I want others to bless me with grace, mercy and forgiveness
    God is saying it starts with your heart, as you seek me first keep your heart open to me you find love for others you see what I see then you will have mercy and forgiveness then you will have My peace
    Thank you Father for Your amazing love ❤️

    It’s the hardest thing to give away
    And the last thing on your mind today
    It always goes to those who don’t deserve
    It’s the opposite of how you feel
    When they pain they caused is just too real
    Takes everything you have to say the word
    Forgiveness, forgiveness
    It flies in the face of all your pride
    It moves away the mad inside
    It’s always anger’s own worst enemy
    Even when the jury and the judge
    Say you’ve got a right to hold a grudge
    It’s the whisper in your ear saying set it free
    Forgiveness, forgiveness
    Forgiveness, forgiveness
    Show me how to love the unlovable
    Show me how to reach the unreachable
    Help me now to do the impossible
    Forgiveness, forgiveness
    Help me now to do the impossible
    It’ll clear the bitterness away
    It can even set a prisoner free
    There is no end to what its power can do
    So let it go and be amazed by what you see through eyes of grace
    The prisoner that it really frees is you
    Forgiveness, forgiveness
    Forgiveness, forgiveness
    Show me how to love the unlovable
    Show me how to reach the unreachable
    Help me now to do the impossible
    I want finally set it free
    Show me how to see what your mercy sees
    Help me now to give what You gave to me
    Forgiveness, forgiveness
    Forgiveness, forgiveness

  6. reachchurch on October 30, 2022 at 12:31 pm

    This Week in the Life: John 8

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