Monday, September 08, 2008

Blame for Sin/Crime - Are there true Victims?

There has been a large swing back to revenge mentality within society of recent decades. Where there had been a swing in the late 60's early 70's to forgiveness of those committing crimes, it has now gone to the opposite extreme. A shame man can't find the happy medium. But this has increased the mentality of what I would term "globalised blaming". This is where we take a crime and find someone to put all the blame on.

This makes life very black and white. It makes life into a straight line with wrong at one end and right at the other, where you have to be at either extreme end. The Pharasees used this same logic in accusing Christ and his disciples of offences against the law of Moses. The law of Moses made outward action the way to judge guilt. But the gospel of Christ makes the feelings of the heart the main issue. It also takes into account intent (ie thoughts of the mind). Suddenly we have 3 dimensional shades rather than a black and white line.

A person who has committed adultery that is a non-member can be baptised instantly, but a member having committed adultery, and ex-communicated, can't. Considering the crime is exactly the same, why a different judgement?

Because the act of opposing the feelings of your heart, with full knowledge, to such a degree, requires time for purging. Yet the physical act is exactly the same. So true judgement requires far more than an observation of physical activity. One of my favorite scriptures is Isa 11:3 where it says that Christ won't judge after the seeing of the eyes nor the hearing of the ears.

This heart judging and taking intent into account may sound impressive, but it makes true judgement awfully hard for us to do. Man has the tendency to hear of a terrible act done by someone and feel ill against the proposed perpetrator. Then there is also the problem that we assume a/some perfectly uninvolved victim/s.

From the time we are young we get the concept of the "baddies" VS the "goodies". Where a crime occurs we look for the "baddy": The one who is 100% to blame for all the ill - who is supposed to die in the end of the movie. And the other/s are the "goodies" who have no blame whatsoever, but are heroes deserving medals.

However life isn't like that either, in the vast majority of cases. Naturally a baby has no input into a crime committed against it. But some time while 7-years-old we begin to arrive at the point of recognising sin merely by being presented with it (thus we need baptism at 8). If we listen to our heart from that time forth we can know what is good and what isn't. From that time forth any act we do of an evil nature will produce some dark ukky feeling in our spirit, whether we note it in our minds or not.

Unfortunately some well intending people may wish to advise victims that they had no responsibility for the act, where they may have had some input. This may please the adviser and give them good feelings about themselves being a great help, but isn't productive for the victim. It leaves the victim unable to address their true feelings. Thus the ukky feeling remains and the person can't move on as successfully as they could if they got rid of it. Also these sins must be repented of to be cleansed by Christ. How can they be if people are telling them there was no sin on their part? Next, the sin, or some related sin, is very likely to re-occur, because the person hasn't changed their viewpoint.

Some may feel this is a bit of a slight on victims - to accuse them of some wrong. However blame is a huge thing that must be considered very carefully. For example the actions of the Nephites and those Israelites in Israel is stated to have contributed to their enemies attacking them. Thus blame doesn't even need to be as obvious as someone having done anything physically directed at the act to have some input. A person may say things that are sexually oriented, that may have contributed to putting the idea in someone else's head of committing a sexual act upon them (for example). A person may wear clothing that suggests they are that type. A person may be proud because of their wealth and talk of their riches, which promotes the idea to someone else of robbing them. A person may partly cause a crime purely by their attitude. Just looking at the crime and assuming the victim had no input is unwise. As would equally be assuming that they MUST have had some input.

In regard all this the problem that man can have is the tendency to decide there is a 100% of blame that must be shared among contributors. We then would have a system where each person's guilt would be relevant to how many others we could find to blame, and what percentage of the blame we pass on to each.

However this is false. Each person is 100% to blame for their input only. The input of others only bears relevance in regard how that affected what we would consider each person's crime to be. For example an act of taking someone else's TV home wouldn't be theft if the other person gave permission. Thus we have to look at the involvement of others to consider what each has done. Some psychologists/psychiatrists get a bit paranoid with such talk, and say it is "externalising". However the involvement of the proposed victim must be considered to know what occurred for righteous judgement. Externalising can only be the case where a person knowingly does the wrong thing under the circumstance, and makes it someone else's fault that they did so.

Much and all as we may not care to admit it, the reality is that almost any crime could be stated to have been committed by almost everyone in the society, to some degree. So often we hear such things as "who is the most important person in the world?" The assumption is "you." Do you always fervently challenge this thinking? And sexual promiscuity; how actively do you oppose it? Bad laws that give too much power to governments and Police; what about that? Do you laugh at lustful innuendo? Showing cleavage and short/tight skirts/clothing? The idea that it is good to have more than others? Offenders come from the society and are partially a product of its values.

Again I stress that it isn't a case of distributing the 100% blame. But recognising contributors to the crime/sin. When viewing these concepts we are left to consider how many 100% victims are there?

Yet at the same time this doesn't detract from the fact that the perpetrator is still 100% to blame for their actions, according to their heart and intent.

Well did Moroni say, "...see that ye judge not wrongfully; for with that same judgement ye judge ye shall be judged."

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