Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Adultery, Stonings, Compassion, and Redemption

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Adultery, Stonings, Compassion, and Redemption

Article excerpt

A Christian Science perspective.

The front page of The London Times displayed the headline, "Outrage over Iran's plan to stone woman to death" (July 8). Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani's 22-year-old son is risking everything to alert the human rights campaigners to his mother's plight. She was charged with committing adultery. In response to international outcry, the sentence to stoning has been rescinded, at least for now.

Nine years ago this month, Maryam Ayoubi, an Iranian mother of three, was stoned to death in Tehran, convicted of adultery as well as murder.

I was born in Iran, and the recent news of Ms. Ashtiani moved me to pray. As I prayed, I realized that in many ways, Christ Jesus was a campaigner and activist. Yet it was not so much human rights that he championed but that he lifted thought beyond the human situations to the divine consciousness of Love, in which there is no limitation to the love that God has for all His sons and daughters. God's love is unconditional.

Jesus showed the Christ - the tangible love of God for humanity - to all of us by his example. That compassion moved beyond barriers of human limitations. John's Gospel records an account of a woman being caught in the act of adultery. Jesus stood between the woman and the people, who believed they had a right to stone the woman according to Mosaic law.

That account is, I think, one of the most beautiful stories of the Gospels. It illustrates love acted out, right out from its source, which is divine. As the New International Version translates, "If any one of you is without sin," Jesus told them, "let him be the first to throw a stone at her." With that, everyone left.

This story says a lot about the compassion of Jesus. Most wonderful of all is how he treated the woman. Jesus gave her a whole new start; he enabled her to turn over a new page and live life from a wholly different standpoint. He forgave her and set her free to be transformed. …

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