The uproar over 22-year-old film actress Kristen Stewart cheating on her boyfriend and Twilight co-star Robert Pattinson with the married 41-year-old movie director Rupert Sanders has been overwhelming.
Both online media sites such as The Huffington Post and traditional print media sources such as The New York Daily News and The Los Angeles Times have been devoting a significant amount of coverage of every new development in the ongoing story of what exactly Stewart has been doing with whom and for how long. Throw in all the magazine and television coverage by sources such as People and ABC News on top of that, and one might almost assume that Stewart’s relationship with Pattinson was an Olympic event.
On Monday, July 30, Brian Orloff and Jennifer Garcia of People reported that Pattinson asked Stewart to move out of a house in the Los Angeles area that the two actors had been living in together shortly after he moved out of the $6 million rental property. A photo of a U-Haul truck that was spotted at the house on Saturday, July 28 makes it seem as though Stewart has complied with his request.
In theory, this could be the end of the story as far as fans of Pattinson and Stewart are concerned. However, it will be a while before they are able to get on with their lives and film careers.
Sanders’ brother-in-law Leopold Ross allegedly claimed that Stewart had been involved with Sanders since last year. Determining if this claim is true or not and learning what it means for Sanders and his wife Liberty Ross will keep journalists talking about this scandal long past the point where anyone should still care. The four people who are directly involved will probably find themselves wishing that Tom Cruise would jump on another couch or something and draw attention away from their damaged relationships.
Although one could make the argument that Stewart and Sanders are just reaping what they sowed, it seems like dealing with the consequences of their affair should be between the two couples and God. Instead of continuing to judge them in the court of public opinion, it would be far, far better to follow Christ’s example of forgiving people and encouraging them to move on with their lives.
In a famous passage from John chapter eight, an unnamed woman was dealing with a situation fairly similar to Stewart’s–only with far worse consequences. Stewart may not have much to worry about other than the possibility of her next movie failing at the box office and some angry tweets from bitter fans. The woman in the Gospel story was about to be killed in accordance with Jewish law.
The story ends with one of the most famous and frequently discussed quotes from the New Testament.
According to John 8:10-11 (New King James Version), “When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, ‘Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?
“She said, ‘No one, Lord.’
“And Jesus said to her, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.'”
Christians who have an emotional investment in this story because they are fans of movies that Stewart and Pattinson have appeared in, or because of moral outrage over the behavior of Stewart and Sanders, or for any other reason would do well to remember what Jesus said.
Instead of making more YouTube videos, or condemning Stewart’s behavior in other ways, people from traditional (or non-traditional) Judeo-Christian backgrounds should forgive this young woman and allow her to go about the painful process of putting her life back together.
Throughout the Gospels, Jesus repeatedly forgave people for every imaginable type of sin. Should His contemporary followers do any less? Stewart’s awkward public apology to Pattinson shows some genuine interest in trying to do the right thing. Christians, and people from every other faith, should be willing to give her some credit for that.
That doesn’t mean that adultery should be condoned, or that people who know Stewart should turn a blind eye to her behavior. It just means that there are probably hundreds of better things to spend our time reading and thinking about, and Stewart deserves a chance to do what she can to atone for her sins in the court of public opinion.