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  • Writer's pictureChristopher Looby

5th Sunday of Lent C

Most of you have seen or heard about the infamous video this week. I’m not talking about the Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars on Sunday. This video was taken close to home actually right on our playground on Wednesday night.

For those of you who don’t know I will quickly give you a recap. On Wednesday night I was in my kitchen having dinner when all of a sudden I noticed a boy climbing up the roof of the can and bottle shed next to my garage and then jumped on the roof of my garage and went to the top.

Believe it or not this was the second time this week I’ve caught kids climbing to the top of the garage!

I went outside to get them off of the roof and I noticed there were even more kids attempting to do the same thing.

Well, I was furious and I’ve had enough. I yelled at them to get off the roof and told them to leave the playground. I went back inside and waited for a few more minutes before I went back out to see if they actually left. I walked to the other side of the garage facing the playground I found them hiding on me.

Again, I shouted at them telling them to leave the playground. They began to leave and as they were leaving they started shouting back at me yelling obscenities.

Well, all of it was caught on camera by a parent who was there with her children who was horrified at the behavior of these children. She posted it on social media.

Since then, I’m told, it was shared by over 200 people. It generated a lot of comments offering sympathy and support to me. It also generated a lot comments about the character of those kids, their parents and their families.

Most of those comments were judgmental, mean and cruel. I also learned later that those kids experienced some bullying at school. Their treatment was very much like the woman in the gospel this weekend who was judged harshly by the pharisees and scribes who wanted to stone her to death for committing adultery.

Yet Jesus showed her mercy!

I felt terrible about the whole situation. The last thing I wanted was to become known in town as the cranky guy who shouts, “Hey you kids! Get off my lawn!” Or worse yet, “Hey you kids get off of my garage!”

As luck would have it (or maybe divine intervention) the parents of two of the children called me to see if they could meet with me. They arrived 10 minutes later with their children and we had a wonderful heart to heart conversation. We talked about why their behavior was wrong. They were sincerely sorry and apologized.

Then, later in the day another parent with his kid came to see me too!

They are good kids who made bad choices. It reminded me when I was their age. I did some dumb things too and I shared that fact with them. If I had a dollar for every stupid thing I've done I would be richer than Will Smith.

The parents are good people, too, who are just angry and embarrassed about the situation and just want their children to learn a lesson from this experience.

As far as I am concerned all is forgiven and we have to move on and live together as neighbors and friends in this small community.

I guess my point is that when we hear about someone else’s bad behavior we can be so quick to be judgmental.

But, we have no right to judge others because we often commit the very faults we condemn.

We are also often partial and prejudiced in our judgments, and we do not know the circumstances which have led someone to sin.

We have to learn to leave the judgment to our merciful God who alone reads people’s hearts.

Instead we should show mercy and compassion to those who sin because all of us are sinners in need of God’s forgiveness.

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