John 8:7 “He who is without sin, throw the first stone”

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John 8:7 “He who is without sin, throw the first stone”
 John 8:7 “He who is without sin, throw the first stone” The other night I was watching America’s Got Talent and a young woman was on, who at one time, had been a very popular Christian music artist. She sang before hundreds of thousands of people at concerts and other venues, and was very much in demand. She had been dating a man for a while and before their wedding day she got pregnant. Once it it was discovered the she was unmarried and pregnant, her recording contract was cancelled and all her concerts and singing engagements were also cancelled, and her Church asked her to leave!!! This woman committed one sin, and was thrown out by the body of Christ like old garbage, just one sin!!!!! This reminded me of my own experience with the body of Christ about 10 years ago. When I was brought to trial in 1986, for charges against me that were false, my attorney Alan Begnar, told me the that jury knew I was innocent, and assured me I would be found not guilty of the charges against me. (If I were found guilty, I was facing a minimum sentence of 140 years!!!) Everything was going smoothly until the prosecutor asked me if I was in the Mafia. Since I had left the Mafia in 1984, when I was saved, I answered “no”. He then rephrased the question and said were you ever in the Mafia? My attorney asked the Judge for a recess. My attorney said, “Tom, right now this jury believes you are innocent of all the charges but if you admit you used to be in the Mafia, they will find you guilty for sure and you will go to prison for a very long time.” I explained to him, that because I was a born-­‐again Christian I couldn’t lie, especially under oath, with my hand on the Bible. Since he was Jewish (and an atheist) he then said, “Tom, what kind of God do you serve, who won’t allow you one little lie to keep you from going to prison for a long time knowing you are innocent?” He didn’t understand why I would tell the truth and wind up going to prison for the rest of my life. But, his question haunted my mind. When the trial resumed, I was again asked by the prosecutor, if I was ever in the Gambino family. My mouth opened up and a big no came out and startled me. I couldn’t believe I had lied under oath to save myself, even though I was innocent from going away for a very long time. Immediately I felt ashamed, and asked God to forgive me. This was my sin before God and God alone, and I deeply repented after court adjourned. I eventually was found not guilty and was set free to return to my family and Church and I kept praising the Lord for blessing me. Sometime later, I went into full-­‐time ministry and started sharing my testimony, in Jails, Prisons and Churches. It expanded very rapidly to most of the States in the United States and then overseas to Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, Fiji Islands, and Jamaica. I was told I was the third most requested speaker in the USA. I had been on every Christian radio and television program, and every Christian Magazine during that time, and tens of thousands had surrendered their lives to Christ. On Focus On The Family’s radio program, which aired my testimony, Dr. James Dobson told me 300,000 cassette tapes of my testimony had been purchased, breaking all previous records. Dr. Dobson also told me over 10,000 people called in for salvation packets!!! What a tremendous blessing. But when you become popular there are always jealous people and doubters looking to discredit you and destroy you. I had my share and merely turned it over to God and continued on, in ministry. That was until one of my attackers purchased the court records of my trial from 1986, and read where I said I was never in the Gambino Mafia family. That was all he needed. He heard me speak in a Church he visited and had my testimony material where I admitted being in the Gambino family for many years. He now had the “ammunition” to destroy my credibility. He used the internet at first, to so-­‐called “expose” me, and later would call Churches I was scheduled to speak at, and tell them how I lied under oath. Now here is how the body of Christ responded: Without asking to hear my side of the story, 163 Pastors cancelled me from speaking in their Churches in just one year. I had over 12,000 people on my mailing list and in 3 months had less than 300 who didn’t ask me to remove their names from the list. I went from having more than 100 monthly donors, to less than 15. The body of Christ treated me the same way they treated that singer on America’s Got Talent: they threw me out like week-­‐old trash. Pastor Fred Kelly, who led me to the Lord, and a few others stood by me. Everyone else, turned their backs on me. Ministries who made hundreds of thousands of dollars off me abandoned me, overnight. It was if I had never existed and it broke my heart to pieces thinking that these so called brothers and sisters in Christ would not stand by me to lift me up and encourage me, but instead throw me out like garbage. When I first surrendered my life to Christ, I heard a saying that had me very confused. The saying was this : “Christians are the only ones who shoot their wounded.” I am no longer confused about that saying and agree with it 1000 %! Most of today’s body of Christ is devoid of brotherly love described in the Bible. They will befriend you if they can get something from you, talk behind your back, smoke right outside the door of the Church, drink and get drunk and boisterous, and sleep around, and not have any regrets or conviction. And yet they will condemn anyone they hear who has been accused of a sin!!! The body of Christ has brought more of the world into the Church, than the Church into the world. Homosexuality is now acceptable, as is same-­‐sex marriages. Did you know that, not even in Sodom And Gomorrah were there same-­‐sex marriages? Some denominations even ordain practicing homosexuals and lesbians. It would seem that John 8:7 has been removed from our Bibles and now people think that they, not God, can judge people, and condemn them in the name of Jesus. Matthew 7:1-­‐5 tells us not to Judge, yet so many Christians are quick to do so. Matthew 7:21-­‐23 describes what God says to those who don’t have love for others : “I never knew you” If God never knew you, you are NOT going to Heaven when you die. I hesitated to write such a harsh letter, but Christians need to know the truth and if they are guilty of any sin, to confess it to God in an act of true repentance, and stop condemning others and instead Pray for them and encourage them and let them know they are loved. Tom Papania 

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