If you pay any attention to the national news, you know about the mass murder of 59 people last month by a lone gunman in Las Vegas. You also know about the terrorist in New York who killed eight people by driving a rented truck into a crowded bike path. In addition to the killings, within the past month, there has been a wave of news stories about several well-known Hollywood male executives and celebrities who have been accused of routinely abusing women and getting away with it.
During the late 1970s, while I was in college, I met a young man — I’ll call him John — who was born in the Middle East. John immigrated to the United States when he was a teenager. He was a few years older than me and it seemed as though every time I saw him, we ended up talking about religion, politics, and the volatility in the Middle East.
Last week I received a letter from a man who felt compelled to put me in my place. One of his comments pertained to my recent article, A Gunfighter Rides Into Peoria. In that article, I described what happened during a recent trial that I was involved in. Here’s what the man said about my article:
Last month, Peoria Players Theater put on the musical production of Cinderella. While the music in the play was from the original musical version of Cinderella, the script was adapted from the 1997 teleplay that featured pop stars Brandy and Whitney Houston. My daughter Mary Rose played the part of Cinderella in the Peoria Players production. My initial plan was to attend two of the eight performances that were put on, but I couldn’t stay away. I ended up seeing four of the performances.
I recently filed a chapter 7 bankruptcy case for a client who owed a significant amount of money to some local loan shark companies. (I call payday and title loan companies “loan shark companies” because they routinely charge up to 300% interest per year on money that is loaned to customers.) My client also had several thousand dollars in accumulated debt that he owed to credit card companies and medical providers. For the purpose of this article, I’m going to call my client “Jim.”
Do you know what the Blessed Mother, the apostles, the disciples, and all the followers of Jesus had in common, other than believing that Jesus was the Son of God? They all forgave everyone who was involved in the torture and murder of their Savior. Think about how difficult that had to be. I know how hard it is for me to forgive certain people for what they have done to me, but I can’t imagine how difficult it would have been to forgive those murderers.
Imagine you are driving on University Street in Peoria and in the distance you see a large crowd of people gathered in a parking lot. As you drive closer to the crowd, you see a man who you have met before tied to a telephone pole. To your horror, you see two young, well-built men taking turns at beating the man with leather whips that have sharp pieces of metal attached to the ends of each whip.
On Christmas morning, my wife sent a text message to me and our children with a link to a YouTube video. The beginning of the video showed images from the first Christmas. The audio that played in the background was from the segment of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” where Linus recited the famous passage from the Gospel of Luke: “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them….”