Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Hypocrisy of Kindness

"If we should err at all let us err on the side of grace." Oftentimes, this glib platitude is used like a hammer to crush justice and condone evil. Nowhere in the Bible, is institutional forgiveness promoted. Forgiveness is always personal. However, today, most institutions promote institutional forgiveness while maintaining vengeance at the personal level. This is the inverse of what the scripture teaches. This is the post-modern hypocrisy of kindness. To forgive an employee who is habitually late is to penalize those who are faithful on time!

Jesus was merciless with the institutions of his age. Try reading his catalogue of woes in Matthew 23 against the institutions of the Pharisees, Sadducees and the Temple Complex. Contrast this polemic with the forgiveness offered to woman caught in adultery (John 8: 1 - 11) or the fellowship with a hated tax-collector, Zaccheus (Luke 19: 1 - 10). It is as clear as crystal, that forgiveness is a personal act towards individuals. It is managerially wrong to nurse your vengeance towards individuals while letting the institution run rampant with injustice! This is what got Jesus crucified and Barabbas released.

If anyone has an ear for an ear about what it means concerning an eye for an eye, I would recommend John Stott's exposition on Matthew 5: 38 - 42, in The Message of the Sermon on the Mount, in the Bible Speaks Today series. His lucid explanation on the Lex Talionis (The principle of exact retribution) demarcates the meaning of justice at the personal level versus the institutional level.

The same issue from a sociological bent is seen in Ravi Zachariah's rebut to post-modernism in Deliver Us From Evil. (See pages 132-133 as he quotes Peggy Noonan's article, "You'd Cry Too If It Happened to you," from the 75th anniversary issue of the Forbes Magazine).

But, of course, I must warn that these neuropathological dissections on the false theology of kindness is not recommended for the weak in heart, the bloated in mind or the deceived in spirit.