From Monday through Friday, our son, Doug, sends an email “Quote of the Day” to friends, loved ones and employees. Most quotes are one liners that bring a smile or a challenge, but occasionally a remark is so thought provoking, it demands a second look ____ like this one from Brazilian novelist, Paulo Coelho:
“We can never judge the lives of others, because each person knows only their own pain and renunciation. It’s one thing to feel that you are on the right path, but it’s another to think yours is the only path."
After checking his biography, I feel certain Coelho is referring to the fact that his mother and father wanted him to be an engineer, but even as a teenager Coelho wanted to become a writer. His parents thought he was throwing his life away and even committed him to a mental institution in an attempt to get him to change his mind.
I read Doug’s “Quote of the Day” when Jerry Sandusky's trial was front page news, and I assumed Coelho was suggesting I can't make a "judgement" about the man whose name will forever define sexual predation. But I can make a judgement about how he lived his life.
Jesus tells us, “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged.” Certainly, we are not to judge where a person stands with God, but Jesus also instructs us to "discern both good and evil" in the actions of ourselves as well as others.
As difficult as it may be, we are called to forgive Jerry Sandusky if he admits his crimes and asks to be forgiven, but as Christians, I believe we can judge his acts of depravity as evil and recognize he must be severely punished to the complete and full extent of our laws.