I don't think it would be a stretch to state that every one of us can easily picture at least one news headline in the past weeks that we would characterize with more than one of these words. In fact, the media as of late seems awash with that which pushes the bounds of decency further and further from what should seem to be common sense humanity. Tiny unborn beings bartered for organs. Well known individuals brought low by infidelity and scandal. Politicians failing miserably in feigning ignorance or basic knowledge of association with corruption or poor judgment. It seems there is a swell of the detestable that cannot be ignored without completely cutting one's self off from the world around them.
Of late I have begun to feel disgusted at the detestable. Among these news stories are individuals who have claimed superior morals and better values than most who are now the butt of every conceivable joke. Their lives, which have always been under the microscope, have been found corrupted and even fallen into depravity. This is a God-send for a media who has always sought the downfall of these self-righteous, holier-than-thou bible thumpers.
Others have been caught in lurid and despicable acts. Convicted, they'll go to prison. Lives are torn apart and they too, are now an attraction for mockery. Again, I feel disgusted at the detestable actions of others. But I'm not referring to the guilty. Certainly their crimes against the innocent and their own families are shameful and horrible. A terrible price is being paid as Hell claims victory in the sundering of their lives, their reputations, and their loved ones.
I have been amazed and shocked at the rapid response of judgment and vitriol in all of these scenarios. It is evident that guilt is present. What has amazed me is something that I can only ascribe to a near hatred and delight at the downfall of others. Again, I find this detestable. But I am not moved towards revulsion for the media or the public in general. From these I expect this behavior. They can act no differently. They are trapped in a fallen state, convicted by the lifestyles of those who aren't, and very often seeking the worst in others to justify a lost existence that they may or may not be aware of. This behavior is fully to be expected.
What has amazed me to the point of sadness is the reaction of those claiming Christ. I cannot number the social media posts, conversations, and emails that I have witnessed that essentially are celebrating the downfall of these individuals. Some are more poignant than others but all of them are basically saying the same thing: "See - they got what they deserved!" On social media these posts are typically followed by several agreeing comments or "likes", the essence of a digital "AMEN! Preach it!"
I would agree, these people did get what they deserved. It's pretty clear in Romans 6:23 - "The wages of sin is death" and these people opened the door and invited death right in. Death to their marriages. Death to their families' well being. Death to their finances. Yes they are living scripture out to the fullest.
What has me saddened is that so many who quickly engage in the conversations of grace, love, hope, and tolerance are also so quick to publicly point out the depths of these individuals' depravity, so quick to celebrate their downfall, so ready to join the world at large in pointing the accusing finger. The problem is, I only read of one individual in scripture who successfully wore the mantle of accuser.
There's an old story about a man who had an irritation in his eye. It was caused by a speck, sawdust, some irritant that was hard to see and even more difficult to remove. The attempt caused his eye to redden, tears to flow, and was somewhat noticeable to others.
Of those who noticed, was a man who had been disfigured in an accident. He'd survived but in the process had been wounded terribly. He had been impaled. Puss and infection constantly plagued the wound and though it was painful, he'd been fearful to remove the impalement even though doctors had promised him a full recovery. A large piece of lumber had been driven straight into his eye socket. With such a wound, he was completely blinded in one eye with reduced vision in the other.
This wounded man began to focus on the rubbings and irritations of the other. As he watched him struggle he began to become irritated with his flailing about and gyrations. Finally he'd had it. He blurted out "ENOUGH!!! You need to stop acting so foolishly or you'll permanently damage your eye. Here, sit still while I help you get that out!"
"But I'm not a child molester!" "I've never cheated on my spouse!" Great. Good for you. You're in good company. But not good enough. In fact, even your most minor infringements were vile enough, detestable enough, and offensive enough that the very King of all creation had to leave a throne of unimaginable splendor, bind himself in a mortal frame, and permit wicked men to tortuously kill him as a substitute for your trespasses against a holy and sinless God - all because he was not willing to exist throughout the innumerable eons of eternity without you.
This King doesn't revel in the downfall of the wicked. He doesn't celebrate the just desserts of poor choices and bad decisions. In fact, every recording of his having encountered individuals thus embroiled shows him embracing their brokenness, accepting their frailties, and pointing them to a better way. No judgment, no condemnation, no "I told you so". His only anger is directed against those righteous who would put the fallen where they belong, publicize their shame, and cast them out of the "good people" club.
I wonder what this King thinks of us when we have the audacity to even speak about the failings and downfalls of another given the lengths he went to and what he endured to reclaim us from death and Hell. He always loves us in the deepest sense of the word. Where others revel in the falling of others, He revels in the rescue. And they witness our willingness to point out the trespass of others. They hone in on the rapidity with which we cry "foul" when others fall. But I wonder, given everything he as gone through to rescue each and every one of us, would he not find our judgments, our pointing fingers, our actions detestable?