And now I'm a day behind again, I knew I shouldn't have started the last post with that.
Today's Gospel was another of those famous Bible stories that almost everyone knows, Jesus and the Adulterous Woman and it functions much like last week's Gospel with the Pharisees acting high-and-mighty and missing the point of Jesus' teachings. However, Jesus is able to turn the tables on his antagonists and uses their human imperfection as a way to outwit them and save the life of the adulterous woman.
I think this Gospel is the distillation of all that it means to be Christian. Jesus forgives the woman, and also gets the angry crowd to leave her alone by making them acknowledge their own weaknesses and learn that they cannot judge her because they themselves are sinners as well. Sin is something that is inherent in all people and is what defines our imperfection, God knows this and this was the reason Jesus was born: to teach us how to cope with our human weakness and become something greater through a relationship with God.
It does not matter how righteous one may be on the outside, if he is silently judging others on the inside then we are not living up to Jesus' expectations for us. But learning not to judge is something that is very hard to do since opinions are formed instantly and many of those decisions carry moral weight behind them. "Do they look like a good person?" "Are they friendly or dangerous?" "Can I talk to them?" These are all questions that instantly fire off in our minds when we meet someone new and is a mechanism built into our psychology to keep us safe. So how can we not judge?
This is where forgiveness comes in, that other pillar of Christianity. The part that says that even if someone has weaknesses or differences that we can still learn to embrace and love them. We are taught that this is something that we can extend to everyone, and that in forgiving others we are awakened to something "new." Forgiving others is an act far more easy that not judging them but it is still something that can take considerable effort, especially for those who are especially bad. People like Adolf Hitler, Joesph Stalin, Osama Bin Laden are those who are associated with the worst in humanity, yet, God asks us to forgive them as well. This is because holding on to hate and on to the pain of the past will only hinder our journey forward, and it is only in that journey forward that we will find the true meaning of our lives.
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