I want to talk about something sinful. I say this in the hope that it promotes Good, not anger. Please keep that intent in mind as you read.I’ve said this elsewhere before:
This post is not directly about compassion and forgiveness but it is about being noble: having or showing fine personal qualities or high moral principles and ideals. It is about being responsive in a way the shows high moral principles in the most religious sense… where all great religions share common beliefs.
This post is about two things, Good and Evil. I believe there is capital ‘G’ Good in this world and also capital ‘E’ Evil in this world. I believe these forces are at battle globally, nationally, locally and personally. We have both good and evil wolves within us all and we chose which one we feed. I question which one is being fed in today?Osama Bin Ladin is dead. I do not question if he was Evil. Osama Bin Ladin is dead and the world has been rid of an Evil man. What I fear now, what scares me, is the response I see to his death. It is vengeful, vindictive. It is spurred by hate. I see the only of the 7 deadly sins not necessarily associated with selfishness or self-interest: wrath. I’ve seen this before. I’ve seen it around the world. My earliest memory of it was when Ronald Reagan was shot. I sat, shocked, watching my friends television after school, one of the scenes shared, a celebration in the streets of an unremembered country, far from the US in distance, diplomacy and idealism. It felt wrong. I have the same feeling now. And so I seek to see things from multiple perspectives and to understand things that we may miss because we take things for granted in our own culture and in our own fixed perspective. President Obama said on the death of Osama Bin Ladin and in discussing the tragedy of 9/11, “… And yet we know that the worst images are those that were unseen to the world. The empty seat at the dinner table. Children who were forced to grow up without their mother or their father. Parents who would never know the feeling of their child’s embrace. Nearly 3,000 citizens taken from us, leaving a gaping hole in our hearts.” I remember watching that on television too. Much of the world gasping for breath as towers crumbled. And once again, scenes shared of celebrations in the streets of other countries, far from the US in distance, diplomacy and idealism. This too felt wrong. I have the same feeling now. How many have died since the towers fell? How many parent-less children are there? …the victims of a war on Hate. Victims: not gun-wielding Evil men and women… Just people in the wrong place at the wrong time. “… And yet we know that the worst images are those that were unseen to the world. The empty seat at the dinner table. Children who were forced to grow up without their mother or their father. Parents who would never know the feeling of their child’s embrace.” Without doing research I would estimate the number of deaths from the war on Hate to be closer to 300,000 than 3,000. But the totals are not shared to be compared, they are both significant numbers that exceed zero, making them painful reminders of Evil. They leave gaping holes in many of our hearts. It is hard for any of the surviving family members, victims in different countries but with common suffering, to see the Good in this world. But we do have Good in this world. And there is room for more of it. There is always room for compassion and forgiveness. There is always a possible response that is noble: having or showing fine personal qualities or high moral principles and ideals. An evil man is dead. I see celebrations around the world and this too feels wrong. Will the killing stop? I read a book about ‘The Spider and the Starfish’. You sever a leg of a spider and it is crippled. You sever the leg of a starfish and it grows a new one. I fear that al Qaeda is more starfish than spider. How do we let the Good in us reign? Where can we now seek love? Where can we show compassion? To whom can we show forgiveness? How can we bring peace to our world? An evil man is dead. This is cause for relief, not rejoicing; reconciliation, not retribution; reflection, not wrath.