Saturday, February 1, 2014

Judgement Day

No. Not that one.

As we continue to move through the story of David we reach the part that most clearly represent a the double standard that we can all fall into.

Nathan comes to David and asks him to judge, as would have been his role as king, the case of a rich man who takes the one and only ewe from a poor man. David becomes enraged at the absolute audacity of the crime, until Nathan points out that the thief is David himself.

As an artist history professor pointed out to me years ago, the reason most of us don't like photos of ourselves is because the only self we can see is a reflection in a mirror that is reversed. We can't actually see ourselves as others see us. The same is true of our voice. We listen to a recording, and we think it doesn't sound like us because we hear our own voice from inside. We don't hear ourselves as others hear us. We can't.

With judgement we tend to behave the same way. We judge our own actions one way and the actions of others another. With ourselves we tend to focus on our intention, and use it to excuse the action. "I didn't mean to offend you." Or we give the non-apology, "I'm sorry if you were offended."

On the other hand, we forget that we cannot judge others because we cannot get insidetheir head and hearts. We only see and hear them from the outside. We cannot know the intention of another. We cannot really know all of the circumstances, everything that was going on in another person's life at a particular moment.

What makes David great is not that he was sinless. He committed adultery, murder, and a whole list of other sins. What makes Daivd great was that when confronted, he doesn't try and explain it away. He simply says:

I have sinned against the LORD

Nathan's response is equally simple,

The LORD on his part has forgiven your sin

This scene is a foreshadowing of our Sacrament of Reconciliation, Nathan acting in the role of the "priest" hears David's confession, pronounces words of absolution, and announces to David his penance.

Why do we find it so easy to judge others, and so hard to simply say about ourselves, "I messed up." I sinned.

What David did was about as awful as it gets, and yet he was able to confess. What is keeping you from going to confession?