Monday, October 18, 2010

chance- get out of jail free card

on another blog i keep, a good conversation on justice developed from a post about a TV show. in my view, it's well worth reading.

a question was raised at the end that caught me by surprise, however. it challenged me to examine the chasm that exists between the man i am and the one i seek to become.

"Question is, is there such a thing as being too merciful/gracious?" (sVs)

i don't know about this...

my old sense of crime and punishment says 'yes'
my growing sense of embraceable ideal says 'no.'

what to do?

i think that i have been raised in an environment so prone to pronouncements that it is an ongoing struggle to default beyond this. in most cases, it's fairly common to see a black hat on one guy and a white hat on the other. as a matter of fact, i have even noticed, upon looking deeply into my own relational world, that if i can identify one 'villain' in the group i am more ready to extend grace to everybody else in the room.

i believe the word for this is 'scapegoating'
not good.

it bugs me that it is so easy to focus all my negative energy, presumption, cold officiousness, harsh scrutiny, suspicion and even expectation upon one person, while granting everyone else in the game the 'chance- get out of jail free' card. it's a twisted redemption game where the lamb to be sacrificed is not the most perfect, but the one with the greatest observable flaws.

marilyn manson, mass-media manipulator extraordinaire, reflected upon this once: People tend to associate anyone who looks and behaves differently with illegal or immoral activity.

there has got to be a better way.

you'd think that, with all the preaching about unconditional love and the unmerited favour of God that i do, the best of it would either come from a deeper place or, through my preparation process, sink in a little deeper and ultimately become the new default setting. working on that.

whatever the case, here's a thought that is emerging:
if it is possible that one's capacity for mercy plays a key role in increasing the readiness to extend grace- what then?

what i mean is this: if one can be taught to see the other indescriminately- to remove the hats, both black and white- and see people's apparent inability to live to realization the best things about themselves as lamentable rather than indictable, then perhaps one can find the grace needed to extend to them, even against the pain that they seem to be inflicting upon others. there might be hope there.

oh, to be more merciful, more gracious,
more ready to give the other a chance.

see, somehow God affords the breaker of natural law opportunity to be redeemed. neither the most nor the least unrighteous of us is struck down where he stands because God has just had it with him. the yet-to-be-realized good in a person may be the only thing that God sees in his infinite mercy and patience. the ability to see in our limited capacity for the same is what's needed for the rest of us who aren't God, for this is integral in bearing his image, recognizing and responding to it in others.