Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Someone Must Pay. Someone Has.

The news is always filled with tragedies. One of the most recent one was Joseph Stack flying his plane into the IRS building in Texas. He ended up killing himself and Vernon Hunter (a man just going about his daily job) and terrorizing countless others. I am grieved by that news.

Today I read that Valerie Hunter, Vernon Hunter's wife, has filed a lawsuit against Sheryl Stack to find out if Joseph Stack left any life insurance money. I cannot imagine Valerie Hunter's grief and trying to figure out how to make life work after her husband's loss. Still, this news saddens me. It is one more example of what our society has come to. We live in an increasingly litigious society, a society whose mantra is "Someone must pay."

Part of the lawsuit is that Sheryl Stack (Joseph Stack's wife) should have warned people about her husband. If she knew, she probably should have said something. However, I wonder if she did know. I think it is a big IF. If she even had an inkling, I wonder if she would have dismissed it or perhaps couldn't even fathom that her husband would do something like that. How do you prove that she did know?

I haven't read it, but apparently Joseph Stack posted a screed on line. Shouldn't anyone who saw it alerted the authorities?

Someone must pay. Someone must be to blame.

It isn't a new phenomenon. When Columbine happened, everyone looked at the boys' parents. The prevailing thought was "They should have known. There must have been warning signs."

But here is the reality. They might have seen something, but it might not have been enough to raise alarms. Or maybe they misinterpreted what they saw, chalked it up to teenage angst, something they would grow out of.

Still, we say that someone must be to blame. Someone must pay.

Those are big examples. But what about day to day life? Do you ever look for someone to blame or make someone pay in some way?

Sadly, I know I do at times. I want things to all balance out. If I feel I've been injured, I want to know that someone else has owned responsibility. I want it to even out. But it is never as satisfying as I imagine. Balancing, winning that justice, can leave a bitter taste.

God doesn't want us to seek to balance in that way. Rather, He says, "Turn the other cheek."

And He says to look at the cross. That is where Jesus paid a debt He did not owe to bring peace.

How would the world change if we sought peace instead of chanting the mantra "Someone must pay?"

The reality is that Jesus has already paid. What if we trusted that?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I Would Have Made a Good Pharisee

For some reason, my favorite Bible characters have been on my mind as of late. They include Josiah and Peter and Esther to name just a few. I've found myself perusing the stories of these characters and those like them. As I've been doing that, I've felt this question tingle at the edges of my mind. I've kind of wanted to keep it at the edges, but as it sometimes happens, God wanted me to look at it. What is the question you ask?

Great characters of the faith fill the pages of the Bible, which one are you most like?

I'm posting today at the Internet Cafe. Click here to finish reading this post.

Reprinted from September 2009.