It’s on the news everywhere, on social media and all around the blogosphere: Father Mansour Labaki convicted of child molestation. (A famous priest who has written many of the famous Christian hymns that we still sing to this day, for those of you who don’t know).
Now whether he is guilty or innocent is something that I couldn’t care less about even if he is a Christian public figure because it will not at all affect my faith nor will it make me stop listening to his songs or think they are any less genuine for that matter.
But allow me to use this opportunity to express my amazement at a lot of people’s reactions to this current happening and at how quick they are to throw the first stone at someone convicted of something that happens to be outside of their circle of socially accepted behavior.
To make it clear, I am against child abuse, whether it be verbal, physical or sexual and I believe it is something wrong that should not go unpunished. But what I am also equally against is assuming I can take the role of a righteous judge just because the person found on trial happens to be guilty of something that is not on my list of approved sins, a list that I’ve sculpted carefully with the help of others to fit perfectly our lifestyle of sin and carry it out with a clear conscience.
For two days now I have been reading article upon article on the topic and following people’s comments and opinions on the matter and most of what I’ve been reading has left me angry at how righteous people are in their own eyes. I have read comments bashing the priest, other ones bashing priests in general, some other bashing the Catholic church and lastly comments bashing religion altogether.
I will not go into these comments and discuss their validity as this won’t serve the purpose of my article, but instead I will address what makes people think they have the right to make these comments to begin with.
I will begin by asking a question to put things into broader perspective.
Q: Do you know what you and a child molester have in common?
A: You both share the same fate.
Both you and a child molester will die one day and open your eyes again in front of a judge who will judge every waking hour you had and how you used everything that he has given you on earth. You will be judged for your lifestyle, your actions, your thoughts, your transgressions, the way you judged others and you will even give account for every word you have said (Matthew 12:36-37).
Or do you think that it is just you who demands justice to be acted out so vehemently?
Do you not know that while you are here raising your voice to accuse someone of child molestation there is someone else who knows no sleep, accusing you day and night to the Righteous Judge?
Do you not know that while you are shouting “child molester” this accuser is shouting at the same time “self-righteous”, “liar”, “blasphemer”, “adulterer”, “homosexual”, “lover of money”, “idolater”, “worshiper of self”, “drunkard”, “reviler”, “swindler” and every other sin that goes unpunished on earth because enough people guilty as charged got together and decided to make it righteous?
Or do you think it is just the thieves, murderers, rapists and drug dealers who will have their due penalty for their crimes?
I hope you don’t think you’re on the clear because you’re not guilty of any of these. I hope you don’t indemnify your actions by convincing yourself you’re a good person deep down or by doing good deeds to balance out your evil. I hope you don’t numb your conscience by shrugging off the idea of heaven and hell, deeming it a fairy tale invented to scare children.
Do you think judgment awaits only the people who believe in eternal salvation and eternal damnation? Do you not know that the very fact that you are able to judge for yourself testifies that there is a greater judge who has endowed you with this ability and has carved the need for justice inside your being?
I hope you aren’t arrogant enough to think you have bestowed upon yourself this ability and I hope you haven’t been deceived into believing there is no judgment awaiting you, thus giving yourself permission to live your life the way you please by a set of rules inspired by pop icons, hippies and movie stars.
And while you are busy bragging your self-righteousness and demanding justice to be carried out against criminals, don’t be surprised if they end up beating you to salvation because of their repentant hearts (Matthew 21:31). Don’t be surprised if you find the tables have turned on that dreadful day, which you can be sure will come.
With all this in mind, let me end by saying let’s not be quick to point our fingers at people guilty of punishable crimes while acquitting ourselves and others of nonpunishable ones, because truth is we are all guilty of breaking God’s laws and we will be judged and punished for every trespass, as small and justified as we may think it is. Breaking one law is equal to breaking all of the law (James 2:10).
Thankfully, we have forgiveness for every sin, found in God’s son, Jesus Christ which has made a way for us to be reconciled with God again. So let’s use this opportunity we have to repent of our sins, all of us not just child molesters, and receive mercy instead of judgment James 2:13).
To believe this is your choice, but a choice that will make all the difference, because it will decide where you will be spending eternity.
So you call it. Do you want justice or do you want mercy? (Think carefully).