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Speaking in Stories
Stories for Preachers, Teachers, and Writers

Casting the First Stone

I once heard a story by Tony Campolo that broke my heart. During his school years Tony knew a boy that his classmates constantly picked on. He was different from the other boys, sort of effeminate, so during junior high school some of the students began calling him a sissy. By high school they suspected he was a homosexual, and their judgment got worse. They called him “homo, fag, queer" and worse. They were merciless in their judgment of this boy.

Then one day, right after gym class, five boys cornered this boy in the locker room shower and urinated on him. Afterwards they walked off laughing. He showered again, dressed, and made it through the rest of the day. But the damage had been done; the breaking point had arrived. That night he hung himself in the basement of his house.

This young man made a horrible decision to kill himself. But when we judge and condemn others, we hurt them, we tear them down, we break their spirit, and sometimes we literally destroy them. Self-righteous judging of others is always destructive. That's why Jesus said, "Do not judge, or you too will be judged" and "Let any of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone."