Monday, Oct 12, 2009. There are many faces of guilt. Are we willing to face the guilt of individuals and of groups as it is? Guilt means that someone has done what he or she should not have done. Guilt also means that we have not done what we should have done. Without guilt is someone who has done exactly what he or she should have done.
Let us listen to a story. “In some hidden corner of this world there lived a poor family. They were under the reign of a cruel king. They had to work all day and were allowed to keep just enough to survive. Their days were filled with work and they had to face all the difficulties which our world has to offer. But then, some day, some stranger came, bringing a lot of money to buy them free from their suffering. “Do you remember a visitor coming years ago?” he asked them. “Yes, we do, but he left soon”. - “He spoke about you and your suffering”, said the stranger, “and when I heard about it, I knew that I had to go and help you.”
One layer of our guilt is made of our loss of responsibility. We are a global community. Mankind has been made to build a team, to care for each other and to help each other. Our responsibility is there - even if we try to deny it. When there is famine in eastern Africa, we need to be there. When there are oppressors, we need to be there. But we are not acting, usually. “Is it our problem, that some people torture others?” “Our means are small.” - “We do not have power ourselves.” “We are not that rich.” In the best case we have tried a little bit, but then were discouraged by the difficulties of the situation. The resistance of the people in power is strong. They want to keep their money and they want to continue their suppression. In the best case some want to build up something, and it is difficult to stay clean when you go for power!
Our responsibility exists not only on a global scale. We are made to help each other also locally. We need to restructure our societies and the way we treat each other such that everyone has the possibility to lead a human life. Humans need love, appreciation and a role which makes them an important part of the community. We might be overwhelmed by the depth and breadth of this task. When the economies fight for survival, do we want to spend more on social care or health care? But this task is much larger than just changing some numbers in our expenses sheets. We need to change our mind, we need to change our heart. Then, as people who are fully compassionate about our life as individuals and as a community, we need to think about new ways to do what needs to be done.
Jesus did not come to invent a new social system. He came to transform people, to ignite a new creation. When we take the bible half way serious, we will be completely overwhelmed by its insight and by the far reaching consequences of its words. Since Jesus we cannot do anything else than to be amazed and surprised and astonished by the depth of his words and ideas. Who is my neighbour? He is the person who needs help on the road south of Jerusalem. It is the person who struggles with his expenses in South London. It is the person in Berlin, who does not know how to integrate into the society. It is the young guy in the gang in Paris, who do not know about the love of Christ. It is the people in the Chinese province, who struggle with everything. It is African people who die on the Mediterranean sea, when trying to go into Europe. It is so many people who have difficulties to get their expenses together every day, working hard as single mother or single father.
There are many layers of guilt. We have touched one, our responsibility for one another. We cannot say, we do not have guilt. No one can say that. We all knew the state of our earth, and we all closed our eyes. [R.W.E.P., jesusnetwork.eu]