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Best to Leave the Stones Where They Are

George Grombacher February 9, 2022

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Best to Leave the Stones Where They Are

Here’s the problem; we don’t know what’s in one another’s hearts. 


I don’t know your true intentions and you don’t know mine. Therefore, I can choose to believe you, or not. 


We live in a time when people scour the internet to find a single world (written or uttered) a decade or more ago, and excitedly point to it as though they’d struck gold. 


Known as “dunking” and “canceling,” these practices are the modern day version of stoning. 


They bring up a lot of questions and I wanted to share them with you. 


What’s really going on here? 


Here’s the cynical view: People are attempting to increase their status by defaming someone else. 


Is that good? No. 


Here’s the generous view: Those who are pointing out the bad behavior are doing so out of a desire for justice, and to right a wrong. 


Is that good? Yes. 


Since we don’t know what’s in another’s heart, we can’t know their true motive. Perhaps the better question is this, “If you’re the one pointing out the behavior, why are you doing it?”


Is it your job to do this? 


The simple fact social media has given everyone a bullhorn doesn’t mean we should use it. 


And, if I find myself in a position to root out injustice, am I not obligated to do so? 


This is a hard problem. 


When we see something, we should say something. And, I don’t want to be a busybody. 


Here’s another big question, “who among us is truly in a position to condemn another?” 


You’ve heard the phrase “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” It comes from the Bible.


In the passage, Jesus was teaching when a group interrupted him. They bring in a woman, accusing her of committing adultery and claiming she was caught in the act. 


They tell Jesus that the punishment should be stoning, as prescribed by law. 


Jesus states that the one who is without sin is the one who should cast the first stone at her. The accusers depart, realizing not one of them is without sin.


A second illustration of this comes from Matthew 7:1-3


Do not judge, or you too will be judged, For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 


If you’re in the habit of casting judgment upon others, would you pass your own purity test? 


What’s the value? 


Is what you’re doing adding value, or is it simply adding gasoline to a fire? 


Am I honestly concerned about this? Or am I simply trying to score points? 


What interest am I trying to advance?


Are you familiar with Teddy Roosevelt’s Man in the Arena?


“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”


You and I have the amazing ability to choose how we spend our time and use our attention. I choose to think about and develop my own thoughts and opinions, and to focus on doing my work. I see very little value in spending time critiquing or criticizing others. 


Grace and space


“To err is human, to forgive divine.” 


Ask yourself, “what’s my desired result?” Do you wish for the perpetrator to retreat from public life, never to be seen or heard from again?  Or do you wish for them to learn from their mistakes and to get better? 


What kind of treatment would you wish for yourself or a loved one should they one day commit a mistake? 


The way forward is through generosity and kindness. It’s choosing understanding and forgiveness. 


Best to leave the stones where they are and go about your day.

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