Sometimes when a Christian calls out sin publicly, often on social media, people reply with, “He who is without sin, cast the first stone.” That reply is an alleged quote* from Jesus in the story of the woman caught in adultery as recorded in John 8:1-11. The application is that since Jesus, who was without sin, did not cast stones at the woman for her adultery, we who with sin should not call out someone else’s sin.
They are wrong.
The problem is that casting stones is the not same as calling out someone’s sin.
As verse 5 indicates, the casting stones reference, per the Law, was literal and not a verbal rebuke. Pointing out someone’s sins is not condemnation but a way forward to help them out of their sins. Granted, some people may come across as seeking condemnation of others rather than trying help them break free from sin. Such people may indeed have a log in their eye (Matt. 7:5) though sin may still be present. Nevertheless, the story concludes with Jesus telling the woman that he does not condemn her and to “go and from now on sin no more.”
Why do you think people’s gut reaction is to feel condemned instead of considering whether or not they are sinning?
*p.s. The earliest biblical manuscripts do not include John 7:53–8:11. It is doubtful the story of the woman caught in adultery is part of John’s original gospel.