So Cruel.

10 04 2010

There are different kinds of cruelty: physical, of course (sometimes involving the blood-lust we see in the senseless beating of Jesus and other innocents around the world even today); and then there is another kind, demonstrated in Mark 15:17-18 when the soldiers dressed Jesus up and then dressed him down. What was that about?

Cruelty, by definition, is when we hurt others without “humane feelings”. It is when we have abandoned mercy entirely; it is when we join in with others with the intention to cause harm to someone else. The definition is so stark in print, but the practice of it is more subtle and easy and darkly satisfying; it would have to be for us to do it all the time.

The soldiers dressed Jesus up, mocked him, and then tore his clothes off; literally. Their actions were insane, weren’t they? Who does that?

We do.

We act without feeling towards others all the time, dressing people up and dressing people down. We abandon mercy, all the time. We won’t admit it, but we intend to harm frequently; pay-back for our own bruises. We lose sight of other people; we lose sight of their hearts and intentions. We put more weight on other’s flaws than our own and “therein lies the problem”: we lose sight.

So, we play dress up. We dress people up in the faults we see in them; and then our mouths twist  cruelly as we dress them down again, talking about them in less than positive ways; our countenance turns bitter. Love drains from our faces and suddenly it becomes OK to say things and think things we ought not; for Christ’s sake, we ought not. We forget:

  • The one in power can be the prisoner next and then mercy has an entirely different value.
  • The one who has been wronged is the one who does wrong next and then forgiveness has an entirely different value.
  • The one who is right is the one who is wrong next and then understanding has an entirely different value.

In practice, when I feel I have been dealt with cruelly, I can be cruel. I can be pious. I can be so sure of myself that I cease to act with love towards my brother and sister who is sharing the same flawed journey I am on. Humane feelings drain away and I find myself saying things I never would have before; and it changes me from the inside out.

I can see this happening to others. Do I see it in myself?

Jesus responded to cruelty with love. May our Supernatural God win over what comes all too naturally to us so that when

  • Bruised, we will not in turn bruise others
  • Abandoned, we will not abandon others
  • Neglected, we will not neglect others

And not to prove our point, but to prove His.

— Teresa Klassen

Afterword: Just read a C.S. Lewis quote (I have one sent to me every day on Twitter) and it said this: “You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life & death-CSLewis”. I think we don’t know what will come out of us until we walk through the fire, or in this case, some kind of cruelty.  It will either crush us and make us cynical and bitter or it will break our hearts for a crushed, cynical and bitter world.




One response

14 04 2010
Tweets that mention So Cruel. « OneBrownLeaf --

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Teresa Klassen. Teresa Klassen said: So Cruel. […]

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