As a child I was deeply impressed by the story of the crucifixion of Jesus as told in the Bible. I was moved when as the Roman soldiers were pounding the nails into the flesh of Jesus, he was busy praying that God would forgive them.
I thought of that as I've followed the story of school bus monitor Karen Klein, a 68-year-old grandmother who was verbally crucified and cruelly harassed by a small group of middle school students, and learned that she is refusing to prosecute these very disrespectful children and doesn't want to see them charged. (Punished, yes, though she isn't sure how; but that no doubt with any eye toward character development and improvement.)
As Mahatma Gandhi reminded us: “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”
The cell phone video of this dastardly incident has gone viral on the internet, or so I've read. But I saw it on the evening news. It broke my heart.
Bullying is getting a lot of attention these days and has always been a problem. It is a symptom of a sickness the human soul can become infected with. Unchecked it can turn one back into a beast worse than our most ancient ancestors.
The Huffington Post reports that Anderson Cooper devoted time to the Klein incident on his Cooper 360 program. Two of the tormentors apologized. One saying:
I wish I had never done those things. If that had happened to someone in my family, like my mother or grandmother, I would be really mad at the people who did that to them.
Yes, my cherished One Commandment - treat everyone else with the same dignity and respect you would like to receive from everyone else. If we all would do this everything would be so much better in this world.
When I saw the video I was disgusted and could not believe I did that. I am sorry for being so mean and I will never treat anyone this way again.
There is some food for thought for all of us there. Most of the time we don't have the opportunity to see an instant replay of our baser moments in order to reflect on ourselves at those times. At the end of every day we should hold a mirror to ourselves, to our actions over the course of the day. We should look long and hard and honestly. We should take stock daily if we are being the people we want to think we are. If we are failing at this, we should dedicate ourselves anew to the task.
How is it so easy to forget that we all are one? If you hurt your brother or sister, you hurt yourself. Only the person who lacks empathy - or at least a sufficient dose of it - can be cruel to his fellow man. Being self-centered in natural enough. We live inside ourselves and view the world solely through our own eyes. But to overlook the fact that we are all related is inexcusable. The older I get the more firmly this truth takes hold of me.