Wednesday, April 20, 2011

No, I don't think Hitler was misunderstood

When the Enron boys were being arrested after they ran the company into the ground, I expressed some sympathy for whichever one of the bad guys was being perp-walked on TV at the time. This prompted one of my co-workers to say that if they ever committed a crime, they wanted me on the jury.

When Bernie Madoff was on trial, my sympathetic streak (all right, it is more like a 10-lane highway) popped up again. I told a friend how bad I felt because he just looked like someone's grandfather.

I do not in any way think these people should not have been punished. They ruined countless lives. I just felt bad for them, especially if they seem contrite.

Now I know I am my mother's son, and she feels sympathy for anyone. But my disability has certainly strengthened the sympathetic bones in my body.

Friedreich's ataxia has forced me to consider people's situations -- like why so-and-so didn't hold the door for me or whatever. That was mean, but ... There is almost always a but. Maybe they had a headache or something on their mind.

And while I usually hope and pray I would not make the same choices, maybe I appreciate their tough choices more.

Why bring this up? Because on this Spy Wednesday, I realized that I am growing more and more sympathetic to Judas, Jesus' betrayer.

I do not hold with betraying a friend to authorities who want to kill him or betraying of friends of any kind. But ...

Jesus confounds me now. Imagine being there and living with him. He makes loaves and fish feed thousands, but he doesn't heal everyone. He preaches "turn the other cheek," then goes ballistic on the money-changers in the temple. After some gal spends community money for perfume to anoint him, he defends it by saying the poor will always be around.

And I am always sympathetic to someone who kills himself. That is a choice I really hope I never make but one I think I do understand. I think I know what it is like to despair, to feel helpless and hopeless, to think not having to get up the next day would be a blessing. But ...

There's that "but" again. I know those feelings, but I don't give in to them. Actually, that is the worst and saddest thing about Judas: that he did.


Ellen said...

Because he thought what he did was unforgiveable...something that you and your mother seem to know is never true.

What I have a difficult time understanding about suicide is the willingness to let others bear the burden of guilt.

I should be more like you.

Matt Trott said...

I just wouldn't feel right making my loved ones live without me.

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