The night was dark and lonely as I sat there waiting for people to find out what I was supposed to have done. I was afraid people wouldn’t understand. They would judge me, talk about me, look down on me, and write me out of their lives. People whom I thought were close friends will now have nothing to do with me. My cousins and nephews will lose all respect for me. How can I look into the eyes of my parents and see their deep disappointment in me. “Woe is me, I am a man of unclean lips.”
I can’t help but think of the movie “Trading Places” when Dan Aykroyd, a very successful Wall Street trader was framed as a crook by a couple of his bosses to prove a point that a street bum (Eddie Murphy) could be trained to do his job. When the news of Aykroyd’s supposed stealing and drug abuse got to his so-called friends, colleagues and old college friends, they turned their backs on him… would not have anything to do with him… and made fun of him.
In other words, they convicted this man before it was proven that he was guilty. But even worse than that, when given the opportunity to care for someone in need… innocent or guilty… they blew it big time. Adam Hamilton has a book entitled “When Christians Get it Wrong.” When we do we bring shame on ourselves and the Church. We are not about pointing fingers. We are about healing. We are not about accusing. We are about forgiving. We are not about throwing stones. We are about standing up to block the stones from hitting any of God’s children. We are not about joining the pack of dogs to tear the flesh off someone we have known. We are about lifting someone above the raging pack and setting them on the safety ground above. Each of us can choose how we will act and react to news like this. We can join the pack and tear someone apart. Or we can do the Christ-like thing, take the high road and embrace a brother in need. When given the opportunity be the Church. Everyone wins when we do.
Dear God, remind me that when I point my finger at someone else three of my own fingers are pointing back at me. I am guilty of sinfulness and therefore have no right to accuse another. Help me to forgive and heal and restore. Help me be the Church. Amen.
Grace and Peace