We have heard in the last few weeks horrible news: the biggest humanitarian tragedy in the Mediterranean Sea and Nepal earthquake. European governments have reacted in very different ways in each case, making political and military decisions in the first, and giving charity to the second.
In Nepal the earthquake wasn’t the problem, but the country infrastructure. In the migration case, the problem are not the migrants but the living conditions in their countries of origin. Neither human traffickers would exist if these living conditions could improve, nor shelling their structures will prevent the longing for migrating. And giving charity will not prepare or equip Nepal for the next earthquake. Not much, nor too little.
Thinking about this I discover ourselves as individuals and as a people as well acting with double standard when dealing with certain situations. It is difficult to take measures without thinking first in the cause of the problem or conflict. It is necessary to find out what is avoidable an the real cause of disgrace, driving us thus to take corrective measures. A miscomprehension of this, or a lack of correct analysis will drive in permissive or punitive measures instead.
Jesus, the highest example of how to apply corrective measures, identified the problem of that woman by the Jacob’s well (John 4:16-18). He made her aware of her status quo but Jesus did not tag her as adulteress. Only then Jesus took corrective measures affecting the source of the situation (acceptance, affect and forgiveness). Thanks to this rehabilitation, “Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony” (John 4:39). Jesus was not permissive with her, neither punitive.
Some get Love wrong for “cheap grace” or permissiveness. Others go to the opposite, they get “identifying the problem” wrong for “accusing the sinner” mistaking punitive measures. “Christ Himself did not suppress one word of truth, but He spoke it always in love. He exercised the greatest tact, and thoughtful, kind attention in His intercourse with the people. He was never rude, never needlessly spoke a severe word, never gave needless pain to a sensitive soul. He did not censure human weakness. He fearlessly denounced hypocrisy, unbelief, and iniquity, but tears were in His voice as He uttered His scathing rebukes” (D.A. p. 353.1). Far from this, “Jesus had frequently wrought His miracles in the open street, and His work was always of a character to relieve suffering. ” (D.A. p. 473.1).
We see Jesus abhorring hypocrisy, incredulity and iniquity, even so, His voice was choked with tears. Jesus gets much more hurt with the hypocrisy and double standard of those who dragged the adulteress (and not the adulterer) than with adultery alone. Jesus corrected all, to some writing on the dust, to her with the words: “go and sin no more”. The question is, where the hypocrites’ sins forgiven?
It is not a matter of applying measures of our convenience depending on the moment. Neither charity nor punishment. It is a matter of correcting the problem at its source. Are we having double standards as parents, relatives, pastors, church elders…? Which is the true root of that problem that worries you now?
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