The Price America Pays When Christians Throw Stones


Partisan extremism is on the rise in America.  Gone are the days where moderates capture votes across party lines.  Artificial Intelligence threatens to further push centrists toward the fringes.  Christians contribute to divisiveness when they point fingers, something Jesus did only at those passing judgment on “sinners”.  When religious leaders brought the woman caught in adultery before Jesus, His response was, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone”.  With “hearts of stone” they reluctantly dropped their stones, but the Lord is seeking those with “undivided hearts”, unwilling to pick up stones, to stem the division in our nation.

Christians already face stiff headwinds, with mere articulation of biblical ethics deemed hate-speak.  That’s largely a consequence of lashing out on social media at those with whom we disagreed during the 2016 and 2020 Presidential elections.  Our ability to speak into our culture will diminish further if the tone of our responses to anti-Christian rhetoric reflects anger and not the love of Jesus.  In 2024, we must choose a “ground attack” of kindness, not an “air assault” of dropping verbal bombs on political “opponents”.  However, so far in this election season, that’s not the case.

Throwing Stones

For Christians, the upcoming Presidential election shouldn’t just be about “Biden 2024” or “Trump 2024” but Acts 20:24.  There’s no guarantee your candidate will win, but you and America triumph when Christians die to self and sacrifice on behalf those Jesus died and sacrificed to save.  Our nation’s hope lies in churches and Christ-followers electing spiritual imperatives over political allegiance.

The Equal Opportunity Offender

Don is a faithful husband, dedicated dad, loyal employee, and dutiful deacon at his church.  On paper and in his own mind, Don checks all the “Christian” boxes.  Yet those who know Don well or talk to him for any length of time have heard the questionable comments.  A spiritual veneer cracks under the weight of proverbial stones he carries and throws at those who don’t share his conservative political stance on social issues.  It’s not a stretch to picture Don escorting the woman caught in adultery into Jesus’ presence – and difficult to imagine him joining the others in dropping their stones.  No group is safe with Don – anyone with an “unbiblical” perspective on any topic is fair game.  What he fails to realize is that his anger doesn’t qualify as biblical either, and certainly doesn’t mirror the Savior he claims to follow.  Don is vocal online and offline, not hesitant to express his views and confront those who disagree.  However, he’s less bold in sharing the truth of the Gospel with non-believers and isn’t active in serving the poor to offset the vitriol he spews at society.

The Closet Keyboard Warrior

Mark attends a public university where he’s not at liberty to express his Christ-centered world views in front of students or faculty.  The only place he feels comfortable speaking his mind (although behind an avatar and alias) is social media.  Free from restraints and filled with youthful exuberance as a new believer, Mark doesn’t realize the damage caused by airing opinions seemingly devoid of Agape love.  There are stones thrown in the tone of his posts and comments.  Mark comes across as combative to observers, eager to debate politics, parties, and policies with progressives.  Escalation is swift if an adversary dares to engage.  Stones fly in both directions, never ending with Mark or the other party persuaded or interested in pursuing a relationship.  He’s become increasingly aware of the division he’s creating and lack of progress he’s seeing, particularly in this volatile Presidential election year.

The Politically-Inclined Church  

Pastor Peterson doesn’t personally toss pebbles at a society hurling boulders toward America’s churches.  He doesn’t have to because churchgoers in his pews are doing that dirty work for him.  Members are friendly and kind to one another, but not evangelistic or compassionate within the community.  Pastor Peterson inadvertently built a culture of “us” (insiders) versus “them” (outsiders) by emphasizing sin in the world without addressing sin within his own congregation.  To retain and appease long-time members content with “how it’s always been”, he won’t risk rocking the boat by introducing externally-focused initiatives like personal discipleship, evangelism training, workplace ministry, or local missions beyond holiday “outreach” events.  As a result, the church’s mission and messaging misses GC3 (the Great CommandmentGreat Commission, and Great Calling), leading members to throw stones rather than using them to build bridges or turn them into bread (to feed the hungry).  Their disassociation and distance is contributing to division in his city and our nation.

Dropping a Stone

Those personas may sound extreme, but we carry stones anytime we lose sight of our sinful nature and draw lines in stone rather than circles in sand.  Fully grasping God’s mercy in light of our depravity means turning the other cheek as we’re being bombarded with stones rather than picking them up to throw back.  The only way Christians will regain our voice in the marketplace of ideas is to earn the right to be heard by loving our “enemies”.  Now is the perfect time, during this divisive 2024 election, for unexpected, counterintuitive acts and jaw-dropping gestures of kindness.

The Grieving Christian Longing for Unity
Mary is a mother of three concerned about what the future holds for her children in a United States where the states aren’t united because our churches are divided.  She’s active on social media and consumes a balanced diet of conservative and liberal news to gauge what messages are being incessantly fed to her teens.  As the 2024 election approaches, Mary is shocked to see avowed Christians more aggressive in backing candidates than campaigning for Jesus.  She and her husband have raised their kids in a biblical household as part of a church family, but she fears she’s already losing them.  Her college freshman mentioned how judgmental and exclusive Christians are when he came home for Christmas break.  Her high school junior has migrated into a new friend group that seems to have little interest in faith.  How long until her eighth grader, a video gamer glued to his phone, begins to question what he’s being told are “his parents’ beliefs”?  Mary believes the best hope for her kids and America is for Christians to drop their stones and demonstrate the unconditional love of Jesus through radical acts of kindness (prayer, care, and share) with those across the political aisle.  If Christians miss another opportunity to replace anger with Agape during this Presidential election cycle, Mary worries the damage may be irreversible.

The Disillusioned Disciple Frustrated with Politics

Stephanie endured “church hurt” and became disconnected from the Christian community.  She loves the Lord and would like to reengage with a family of believers who share the values she holds dear – joy, peace, kindness, and compassion.  Yet Stephanie isn’t seeing those characteristics in most communications by Christians in the social circles and networks she frequents.  She wonders how those who attend church services every week could be so focused on exterior appearances, actions, and words, not recognizing people for who they truly are internally – eternal souls made in God’s image in dire need of a relationship with her Father.  It’s that vantage point that fuels the diversity of Stephanie’s relationships, her willingness to serve those antagonistic to Christianity, and her boldness in talking about Jesus with anyone willing to listen.  Without compromising her principles, Stephanie navigates the tumultuous environment surrounding the 2024 election by seeking to understand and be understood.  Long ago, she made the decision to “drop her stone”, look in the mirror, and take Jesus’ challenge in John 8:7 seriously.

The Community-Minded Pastor Modeling Agape

Pastor Matthews strategically planted his church in an area where diversity is high, incomes are low, and political division runs deep.  Launching a year prior to COVID gave ample opportunities for his congregation to practice the compassion he preached.  The church is visible in the community, known for its selfless acts of generosity, which led to growth in membership and demands for Pastor Matthews’ time.  With greater responsibilities and more to lose came temptations to cling to what he’d worked so hard to build.  However, Pastor Matthews is determined not to lose sight of his original vision to love, unite, and serve the community where the Lord placed him.  In 2024, that requires combatting the mounting divisiveness over the election, keeping the congregation focused on Kingdom over democracy.  He reminds members they only get one vote for President but can cast countless “eternal votes” of kindness for neighbors.  Those eternal Kingdom votes have no expiration date, but a vote for President only lasts four years.  Pastor Matthews teaches that Jesus conquered division by rolling away a stone so we can’t confront partisan politics by picking up stones.

It’s Your Turn…

Join the Drop The Stone movement!  #DropMyStone is a national countercultural campaign urging Christians to reject resentment and embrace grace in the months leading up to the 2024 Presidential Election.  #DropMyStone seeks to reverse the trajectory of our culture, something no President is able or expected to do.  Let’s counter hate with love by praying, caring, and sharing with someone holding an opposing world view.  Then, in lieu of lashing out on social media, post those stories with the #DropMyStone hashtag and challenge 5 friends to follow your lead!

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  • Join the Drop The Stone Movement!



    In this turbulent period in American history, Christians need to band together, not against everyone else but to draw all people toward Jesus.  Yet our culture sees churches disagreeing and competing over theology, leadership, programs, and facilities.  They see believers taking sides on social issues – scoffing and dismissing Christianity because of how quickly we turn on one another.  If our unity and love win people to Christ, it’s not surprising that we all lose when Christians divide.  The 2024 Presidential election season is unprecedented opportunity to provide a stark contrast and alternative to society’s hatred and divisiveness.

    Christians often convey that same attitude toward non-believers.  We speak more about what we’re against than Who we’re for.  Rather than throw stones, Christ-followers should look for common ground and build bridges to facilitate civil discourse.  We’re not to be “unequally yoked”, but we can’t lead those who don’t know Jesus toward Him without relationships.  Arguing, insulting, and lecturing will only increase animosity and distance in this politically charged climate.  Apologizing, confessing, and reconciling are the only paths to open lines of communication.  Christ modeled and demands we be the bigger person, step forward, and drop our stone through loving acts of service.  Those who don’t follow Jesus can’t be expected to extend the olive branch as the election approaches and the divide widens.

    That’s why we’re launching Drop The Stone, a campaign asking all Christians to embrace grace by confronting anger with Agape in the months leading up to the 2024 Presidential Election.  Drop the Stone’s core values and guiding principles for Christians and churches include…

    What Dropping the Stone IS NOT…

    The request for Christians to replace head-to-head battles on social media with mind-blowing acts of kindness for their political “opponents” is not a call for…

    1. Conformity – building bridges by eliminating differences; relationships are about getting along despite differences
    2. Agreement – expecting to find common ground on the existence or definition of absolute truth when worldviews are diametrically opposed
    3. Patronizing – trying to make others just like “us”, as if we’re somehow better or more deserving of grace, rather than valuing their unique qualities
    4. Endorsement – applauding, redefining, or acquiescing to sin in an effort to get close enough to share the Gospel, diluting its power before words are spoken
    5. Dependency – reaching out to help through handouts, checking the box rather than establishing symbiotic relationships respecting each person’s capabilities
    6. Self-sufficiency – performing a single act of kindness without forming circles of sustainable support, walking alongside those in need of help and hope
    7. Enabling – having no expectations or demands for reciprocation, change, or compensation, risking a one-way street becoming a frustratingly vicious cycle

     #DropMyStone does not invite Christians to condone, condescend, or compromise.

    What Dropping the Stone IS…

    The quintessential candidates for this campaign of kindness are grieving Christians longing for unity.  They’re tired of reading social media posts by avowed believers lashing out in anger at those attacking their viewpoints.  They see the path to reversing the rising tide of resentment toward Christians in America as…

    1. Agape – practicing a biblical, countercultural and unconditional definition of love, looking past words and actions at eternal souls made in God’s image
    2. Relationships – not distancing or disassociating, but interacting with those who have diametrically opposing worldviews to understand and be understood
    3. Compassion – recognizing our own faults, like the adulteress’ accusers, repenting when we look in the mirror, neither excusing nor accusing
    4. Forgiveness – knowing forgiveness is bidirectional, but as a Christ-follower preemptively initiating to open the door by apologizing for carrying a stone
    5. Evangelism – although many today equate sharing faith with hurling stones, risking social status by loving enough to present what is unavoidably offensive
    6. Peace – remembering that Jesus rebuked His disciples for wanting to “call down fire” to destroy their perceived religious and political “enemies”
    7. Humility – not bragging about our kindness or holiness when “dropping a stone” but confessing through caring and asking others to follow our lead

    When we practice those principles, we’re being true to our identity as children of a loving Father and will expose the futility of a postmodern world “living its truth”.

    For Churches, Dropping the Stone Deprioritizes…

    Few pastors deliberately throw stones but inadvertently encourage an “us” versus “them” mentality by treating members as church consumers rather than Kingdom employees (trained to pursue the intended “customer”) and by emphasizing sin in the world while letting it fester unabated within its own congregation.  A church ready to drop its stone would have to abandon contemporary church growth paradigms of…

    1. Accommodation – making church comfortable and convenient “when in Rome”, hesitant to convey inconvenient truths about the costs of discipleship
    2. Accolades – constructing skyscrapers that gather many but occupy a small footprint, rather than flattening the hierarchy to take ground for the Kingdom
    3. Growth – subordinating institutional goals (addition) to GC3, the Great CommandmentGreat CommissionGreat Calling (multiplication)
    4. Retention – worrying less about survival or success than about whether the church is transforming culture more than it’s being transformed by culture
    5. Marketing – redefining “outreach” to mean drawing attention to the church or “checking the box” through seasonal compassion that perpetuates poverty
    6. Politics – disentangling beliefs increasingly intertwined in the political sphere by tangibly demonstrating God’s love to bridge division and reopen discourse
    7. Finances – removing a significant impediment to Kingdom collaboration, over concern about partners dipping into donor pools or exposure diverting giving

    Taking the road less traveled would be like yelling fire in a crowded theater, but the disciples remaining would heal the divisive wounds inflicted on America by churches throwing stones at those who don’t believe, think, or look like them.

    For Churches, Dropping the Stone Requires…

    Valuing King over kingdom and Church over churchdom would break down the walls that keep the Word from the world.  During the 2024 Presidential election season, a nation divided must see churches united – not around parties, politicians, and policies, but Jesus.  Imagine the cultural impact of the Church collectively declaring a cease fire in conflicts with one another and secular society, opting instead for…

    1. Unity – aligning with other Christians around true north, Jesus and our core values, while looking for commonalities and causes to engage non-believers
    2. Prayer – coming together with leaders from across the community and world to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the power to surrender our stones
    3. Transformation – putting aside differences and pursuing joint initiatives with other organizations to move the needle on poverty and faith in a community
    4. Generosity – supporting secular agencies and Christian ministries financially, proving through sacrifice that talk of compassion and unity is sincere
    5. Family – giving toward our persecuted brothers and sisters suffering overseas because ignoring our spiritual siblings is passively throwing stones at them
    6. External-Focus – looking out for our own while neglecting the real “customer” ensures society won’t care what we know because they don’t know we care
    7. Celebration – not fearing the arrival of a church plant down the road, instead welcoming and getting to know those leaders and their vision for the city

    #DropMyStone asks pastors to lead by example, conducting collaborative ground campaigns (prayer, care, and share) rather than verbal air assaults (divide and conquer).

    It’s Your Turn…

    Join the Drop The Stone movement!  Respond to the vitriol spewing on social media by posting stories about your acts of kindness for someone across the political aisle.  Use the #DropMyStone hashtag to personally challenge 5 friends to pay your kindness forward.

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