When scribes and Pharisees brought Jesus Christ a woman who had been caught in adultery, they asked if she should be stoned according to the law of Moses. But Jesus showed her mercy instead, saying, “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more” (John 8:11). Jesus didn’t convict her, nor did He condone her actions. Like Him, we can show compassion while standing up for our beliefs.
Here are some principles that Christ’s example can teach us about how to treat people who make choices we don’t agree with:
- We don’t have to respond immediately (see John 8:6). Taking time to think through our response can help us express our ideas more compassionately.
- Jesus waited until the accusers left before He taught the woman (see John 8:9). There is no need to make a scene or embarrass others.
- We need to allow people time to change. President Dallin H. Oaks, First Counselor in the First Presidency, said, “The woman taken in adultery was granted time to repent, time that would have been denied by those who wanted to stone her.”1
- Teach the truth but allow others to choose. “Rather than condemning others, we should simply proclaim what we know and what we believe and invite others to follow the Savior. It is their opportunity to choose truth, not ours to compel.”2
How can we practice granting ourselves the same mercy Christ gives us?
1. Dallin H. Oaks, “‘Judge Not’ and Judging,” Ensign, Aug. 1999, 8.
2. Clark G. Gilbert, “Stand Fast with Love in Proclaiming Truth” (Ensign College devotional with President Dallin H. Oaks, May 17, 2022), ensign.edu.