30 Jun 2020. Opin’On.
The vengeful will face the Lord’s vengeance; indeed, he remembers their sins in detail. Forgive your neighbor the wrong done to you; then when you pray your own sins will be forgiven (Sir 28:1-2).
The irate mob was getting agitated, closing in to smash the condemned statue. The self-proclaimed social justice warriors judged this hero to be the epitome of racism condoned, and they condemned it to be torn down. They had already downed some statues, and after they down this one too, they would move on to down the next. As the hate heaters motioned for the kill, Jesus intervened saying, “Whoever is without sin among you, let him be the first to smash a stone” (cf. Jn 8:7).
If we let myopic senses reign over our emotions, no statue of a hero or a saint would be left standing. We are all born into sin; hence, we are prone to sin. Each of us have both vices and virtues, both weaknesses and strengths, and both failures and successes. We are condemned for our shortcoming, but glorified for our overcoming. We emulate how a hero overcame adversity to serve others, not how he ignored propriety to save himself. We take up medicine to get its good effects, aware that it also gives bad effects. We keep it, regardless.
Enter the often-quoted Catholic dictum: Hate sin, but love the sinner. This is how Christ preached forgiveness. Down with memories of victimhood. Down with every unforgiveness. Unforgiveness weigh us down; unforgive-ness wears us out. If hate matters to us, its heat burns the hated and the hater. Forgiveness, on the other forgets offenses and heals wounds. Without friction, the forgiver and the forgiven move on faster and farther. VSS
“The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones” – William Shakespeare, “Julius Caesar”
Picture credit: Statue in San Francisco of of St. Junipero Serra pulled down by irate mob in 19 Jun 2020 (ReligionNews.com).