Forgiveness in Angry Times

It seems as though we live in angrier times. Maybe my mind doesn't remember so much the anger towards the Vietnam War and the anger against legalized discrimination. But the news has stories of road rage, shootings for no real reason (although excuses are given), and there is always the errant tweet or indiscriminate picture posted. These things happen when intelligent thought is absent. We seem in a rush to judge; not only rush to judge but to convict are carry out the sentence.

There are times when we have the right for indignation. The guy who blew people up at the Boston Marathon (his name isn't worth mentioning), the pilot who decided to end his life and the lives of many others (his name isn't worth remembering), the killer at Sandy Hook, the guy who tonight, will be getting behind the wheel of a car or truck and-in a few hours will change a family's life forever. They deserve our anger, and worse. But we seem to get angry at people who drive to slowly or quickly, people who cut in front of us at the grocery store or who have more than 10 items in the express check out. And what's even more puzzling, we get mad at things that don't directly affect us... and when we get mad we form opinions based on anger and ignorance rather than fact and careful consideration.

In part, I think being a religious person, a Christian, is to take time to reflect. A woman was brought to Jesus because she was accused of having sex with men in the village. Curious the men weren't brought to Jesus. The crowd was incensed. This woman, this sexual deviant was destroying the moral fabric of the community and she needs to be killed. Oddly enough the men wouldn't be killed. Jesus refused to join the hate. He drew some kind of picture in the sand or dirt, something. It's almost like Jesus thought (this is not in the Bible, this is my made up story): "The Romans are oppressing you. They're abusing you and your children. Your religious leaders are cooperating with the Romans, and you're mad at this woman because your men willingly had sex with her?!?" So Jesus said, Those who have never sinned, you get to throw the first stone. Those who have never cut in line, never had more than 10 items at the express check out, those who have never fudged on the speed limit or seat belt laws because "I'm just going to the store right down the block", you get to judge others. But the Bible also says that we will be judged by the same standards we judge others. Maybe we need to draw pictures in the sand also.