Watch the news lately? Listen to the talk of close friends and family, and wonder what has happened to our society, Nnt just here in America, but worldwide. Growing up my friends and I, and no doubt most of you reading this if your roots go back 50, 60, or more years, could walk safely anywhere without fear of attacks. Our doors were rarely locked and who would dare touch our father’s car?
Oh, the days of simple living, no neighborhood shootings, no bullying (that were noticeable), and no newspaper reports that sexual abuse or domestic violence were occurring almost daily. Of course these things have always happened, but not with the intensity and widespread activeness that are appearing today.
Fresh in our minds is the confirmation hearing for Judge Kavanaugh, that didn’t happen today. This past month, we heard the news of Pennsylvania’s Grand Jury report of sexual misconduct by many priests, in Pennsylvania alone. A famous actor, now begins his sentence of three to ten years for abuse with many women. And who can close their eyes to almost daily shootings all across the country, let alone those in other countries to the dismay of people who look and pray for peace, that never seems to come.
Perhaps the worst thing that could happen is we might one day let this news roll off our backs like water off a duck. It is so prevalent that no one is surprised or shocked and dismissing the news may become common-place.
Let’s take a quick moment to see those who have been abused. Our hearts are now outraged at the ugliness of terrible attacks on innocent persons, most too young to resist the onslaught of their merciless attacks. But, we need to also consider the one or more persons, who are or once were at the top of their vocation in life and now are accused, right or wrong, of committing evil deeds which resulted in the unexplainable hurt that so many innocent persons have gone through. Our sense of justice and correction becomes uppermost to most of us on the judging end of society, with or without the credentials to submit those accused of fair judging and allow them their day in court. Sometimes that court can become too quick, as most want instant justice.
Take a moment to read Acts 9: 1 - 6. Jesus went to the Cross for all who sinned. He died to forgive us our sins, and He rose to assure the Resurrection is ours. The Apostles struggled to spread the message of the gospel and felt they were making headways. But, as one might expect, one (maybe many more) man, a Pharisee named Saul wasn’t going to stand for this New Way. He was on his way to Damascus with writs of arrest for those who belonged to the New Way. Of course we all know the story of How Jesus confronted Saul on the way and the rest is history. Suppose God would have said; “This man is destroying my Son’s efforts to have the Apostles reach out to humanity with My Plan to bring as many as possible to live with Us in eternity. He didn’t, and the most notorious man at that time in history became the one to reach untold millions for 2,000 years with the Good News of Salvation.
Of course there may be many that are accused of wrong doing whom God is using to spread the Good News, one way or another. I don’t mean that those who legitimately have hurt others should not be prosecuted and removed from society, but our judgement must reflect honest and realistic approaches to a fair day in court, even if that court is public opinion. Paul’s conversion may not seem to fit here, but it does show that even God can pick someone who even in the wrong, may not be our choice to condemn.
Point here is our judgement must be fair and honest. It is important not to rush to condemn anyone without first looking at all the evidence that may not bring an accused to the gallows. Or, on the other hand, perhaps the accusations will prove that the accused is guilty as charged and only then is the arm of the law free to act accordingly.
Judge Kavanaugh was accused. We do not know if it was a just or contrived situation, but nevertheless the fallout is a substantial result of pain and suffering for him and his family. We must wait and see what the FBI will find, if anything. Bill Cosby, on the other hand, was found guilty as charged, convicted and sentenced. In this case justice prevailed and one more perpetrator is now removed from society.
In the situation with many priests who were accused, and their names redacted until they can defend themselves, we see again maybe some who were incorrectly singled out for something they may not be guilty of. The court of public opinion has always been a lynch-mob attitude that says, “guilty until proven innocent”. A reverse of our justice system that says, “innocent until proven guilty.”
Where do we, or where will we stand on judgement? Judge according to fairness, but be slow in reaching for the noose until all the facts are known.