Today Adelle has prepared a Casting Stones Family Night Lesson to help teach the principle of withholding judgment.
One of the most important principles that Jesus taught his disciples was to love. We are not only to love our family and our friends, but to love all of God’s children. Even when they are different than us. Even when they do not act like we think they should. God loves us all so much, so we too must love and forgive each other–without judgement. This Casting Stones family night lesson will hopefully help your family understand the importance of accepting and loving others.
Tell your family the story from the Bible about Jesus and the woman who was found in sin. (St John Chapter 8) The scribes and the Pharisees brought the fallen woman to Christ and told him that the law stated that the woman should be stoned. Stoning is when a group throws rocks at a person as punishment for their wrong doing. It would hurt very much! Jesus replied, “He that is without sin among you, let him cast a stone at her.” Needless to say, the group of angry men slowly dispersed. They could not throw any stones because they too had sinned. Not one person cast a stone.
Nobody is perfect. We all make mistakes. Jesus taught a powerful lesson with those few words of wisdom. We are not to judge each other. We should show mercy, forgiveness, and love.
Jesus did tell the woman to, “Go and sin no more.” He did not say it was okay to do bad things. He wants us to choose the right. But, if we do make mistakes, we can be forgiven.
We have opportunities in our lives to cast stones at people. These stones are not the same as the ones in the Bible story, but they are just as damaging. In what ways do we cast stones in our lives?
Ask your family members the following questions:
- Do you harbor a grudge against someone else?
- Do you gossip, even when what you say may be true?
- Do you exclude, push away, or punish others because of something they have done?
- Do you secretly envy another?
- Do you wish to cause harm to someone?
Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf taught, “In a world of accusations and unfriendliness, it is easy to gather and cast stones. But before we do so, let us remember the words of the One who is our Master and model: ‘He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone.'” (From his talk The Merciful Obtain Mercy).
We need to put down our stones and replace them with kindness, forgiveness, gentle words, love, and Chirstlike service.
Gather smooth stones from your yard or buy some from the craft store. Let the members of your family write a word or phrase onto the stone that represents something that could hold them back from showing love and mercy to their fellow men. For example: envy, gossip, jealousy, unkind words, holding grudges, and excluding. Participating in these types of actions hurt everyone involved.
Take the stones out into your yard. Give each person a chance to read the word or phrase on the stone and then talk about how it can affect their life and the life of the person they are hurting. Talk through examples that are applicable to their age and life situations.
Then, throw the stones away. Put down the rocks and feel how nice it is to be free of it! My kids and I thought it was fun to shout, “I will not gossip!” as we threw the gossip stone into our rock pile. And, “I will not say unkind words!” as we threw the associated stone away. It was really fun and quite exciting to cast the stones out into the yard.
Use this moment to teach your children a valuable lesson: When your hands are free of the stones, they are now free to serve. You can give high-fives, handshakes and hugs. Hands without stones are available for waving to a lonely classmate, or to help a friend with homework. When the heavy, harmful stones are cast away you can fold your hands in humble prayer each night. Free hands are open to receive love and to give love.
When we cast stones of judgement it hurts everyone involved. The Lord has commanded us to love one another. When we put down our stones and, instead, use our hands for service, we can make the world a better place for everyone.
For more Family Night posts, check these out: