Saturday, February 13, 2016

A Worse Wrong Doesn't Make A Less Wrong Not Wrong

That's a lot of wrongs.

When I'm wrong, pointing out another person's wrongs that seem worse than mine doesn't justify me. It's a fallacy that we're all prey to.

It is said that tragic plays were made for cathartic experiences. It makes a viewer feel better about her miserable life because there are others who are much more miserable. Perspective helps to alleviate the pain of suffering, but it doesn't negate the suffering. Catharsis helps, but it's not redemptive. Same with wrongdoing. A worse wrongdoing by someone else doesn't cancel out our wrongdoing. Yet, we take the principle of catharsis and try to justify ourselves.

The problem is that we're blind to our faults. There are planks in our eyes that only leave enough room to see the flaws in others. A tiny little peep that can see outside and observe and judge the behavior of others. When we become aware of the plank, we can see clearly. This plank is pride and refusal to examine ourselves honestly.

The plank is really convenient, though. It's been there so long that we're comfortable with its existence, stuck in our eyes. The idea of removing it sounds painful because it'll require surgery and recovery. It'll be so inconvenient to have to have our eyes be bandaged and inflamed. So we choose to see out of the tiny speck that the plank hasn't managed to obstruct, and we fool ourselves.

If we all admitted our wrongs rather than making skewed, relative judgments based on the wrongs of others, we will come to see that we need forgiveness. No one offers forgiveness in our society. Wrongdoing must be paid, as it should. And so we do everything to avoid this payment.

But what if there was a rich man who would pay for our wrongdoing? Better yet, what if he has already paid it? Now we don't have to pay for our wrong, but we can receive forgiveness. This is what frees us to admit our wrongs and find healing. It also leads us to forgive others because we can't demand payment for something that has already been paid. But if there are those who are unwilling to admit their wrongs, they will eventually pay on their own. The rich man will make sure of it.

In view of the cross and the payment that Jesus paid, let us admit our wrongs and cease to judge one another. Let us let go of bitterness knowing that on the last day, Jesus will give everyone according to what they have done: to those who clung to Jesus's forgiveness, forgiveness, and to those who were unwilling to repent, eternal judgment.

It's the only way to be right.

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