Thursday, July 9, 2009

Judge Not... But Don't Bite Your Tongue, Either

I hadn't written anything about the recent death of former NFL player Steve McNair because I didn't feel like there was anything for me to say.

McNair, one of the most successful black quarterbacks in league history, was killed recently by his mistress, according to police reports. She apparently shot McNair and then shot herself after learning that he was not leaving his wife and was probably planning to leave her.

Not much more you can say about that really.

However, McNair's death, and the circumstances around it, have sparked a plethora of discussions about fidelity, vengance and, of course, Christianity. Some folks have taken this opportunity to condemn McNair as a philanderer who got his just desserts. Others have fired back that you can't be a true believer and go around judging folks for stuff. Scripture has been twisted by both sides to make a point.

Let me say my piece.

I'm a Christian. Consequently, I think adultery is wrong. My entire belief system is based on my interpretation of the Bible, and I think the good book is pretty clear on where God stands on infidelity. Moreover, I just think it's wrong on a human basis, even if you don't believe in God.

However, I do not believe that adultery justifies murder. Yet, I understand the logic that if McNair hadn't been cheating, he'd probably be alive. Unfortunately, that seems a lot like telling a young black man that if he hadn't had dreadlocks and baggy pants, he probably wouldn't have gotten stopped and beaten by the police. It's a pretty stupid argument to make given the circumstances.

I think those Christians who so easily spouted lines like "the wages of sin are death" when they heard about McNair were immature and insensitive. Yet, I think those people who replied, "Judge not..." are just as ill-informed.

It's not judging to tell somebody their behavior is wrong. True, we all have different standards of right and wrong, but there is nothing in the Bible that says that Christians should refuse to call out wrongdoing. A quick study of the Bible will show that Jesus had no problem whatsoever dealing with wrongdoing and regularly chastised groups like the Pharisees and Sadducees for their sins.

The scripture "Judge not lest you be judged..." is part of grouping of verses warning Christians that the same standard they use for other people is the standard God will use for them. It's a passage speaking against hypocrisy and arrogance, not a passage telling believers or anybody to shut up about what's right and wrong.

On a certain level, we all understand this. Nobody says "Judge not..." when folks condemn pedophiles. We all understand that there is a right and wrong when it comes to dealing with children.

The simple truth is that while each individual has his or her own set of standards for acceptable behavior, there is also a general standard that most people in society adhere to. This standard has always been malleable, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. To pretend that we as Americans have not agreed that there are some things that are right and wrong is just asinine. Yet, to pretend that as sin-filled wretches any of us have room to shrug off the murder of a man because he was an adulterer is also asinine.

There is a balance in everything in life. Finding that balance on difficult issues requires patience and dedication, but I believe it's much better than rushing towards two opposing viewpoints and then grumbling about the stupidity of the other side.

It doesn't require judging, it requires thinking.

Steve McNair was more than an adulterer. He was a father, a husband, a man who did good works in several communities. His death was tragic for those who knew him and were touched by his life. Yet, his death also was tied to his unwillingness to remain faithful to his wife.

We can discuss both things without resorting to attacks and erroneously quoting scripture. We can examine the entirety of this issue because all of us should be able to see how it relates to us. There is no need to make McNair into a martyr, or to make him into a cad. He was a man, a combination of good and bad like most men.

Think about it.


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5 comments:

des said...

Great piece Big Man. No question that what Mcnair did was wrong, but if adultery begats death, as some have tried to say, why are Mark Sanford, that Ensign guy in Nevada, Eliot Spitzer, Newt Gingrich, and Bill Clinton still alive?

Lisa J said...

Yep, I agree Big Man. Adultery is WRONG, but it surely doesn't justify the man being killed. No way, no how. Plus, if the girl hadn't been somewhat disturbed and just did the usual woman scorned thing, told the wife, maybe told it to the local media since he was a celebrity, sent him a nasty-gram or two make a few angry phone calls to him then yeah, he would have been humiliated, his kids might have found out, wife might have left him, the kids would have been a hurt and disappointed but they'd still have a daddy. Now those poor kids have no father and can't even get an explaination for why he did what he did and have had their last memories of him tainted b/c you know they will find out once they go back to school or go to summer camp even if their Mom is keeping them away from the tv. I'd rather have a cheating, living breathing Daddy, than a dead one, especially as a child. Folks can be so cold, the man is gone, the family is in grief. Sheesh, even though people made fun of Sanford for being goofy and having a big mouth, plenty of people who would call for blood if President Obama got caught cheating and tried to impeach President Clinton for it, ran around saying Gov S should be forgiven, we all make mistakes, blah, blah, blah and leaving the state without a senior executive in charge for 10 days, no biggie. But this brother deseved to die b/c he was cheating. Shake my head.

Oh and why did he pick this girl. All I saw was a pic of her face w/out makeup so maybe she looked great all fixed up in pretty clothes, though working at Dave and Busters they aren't known for their cute outfits, but she looked pretty average. Why would a famous guy who could get a supermodel to cheat with, go with an average looking girl who was that much younger. I know personality goes a long way, but given that she was obviously mentally unstable though maybe she was good at faking it, I can't imagine her being all that personable. I just don't get people, especially men sometimes.

Lisa J said...

Plus he was really handsome too so even if he wasn't rich and famous he still could have found better. Maybe I'm being female sexist on that.

Big Man said...

Lisa

That's like asking why Bill Clinton chose Monica, isn't it?

The truth is, men are often simple creatures. We see something we like, we want it. It doesn't mean it's the best there is, it's just something we like that were are able to get.

That's what I've seen with men and sex. Sometimes cats just take whatever is easiest and meets a minimum threshold set by them. They aren't out there wooing supermodels all the time, no matter how rich they are. Some cats think that's too much work.

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