Woe to the Other Guy

I suspect that most of us like the parts of the Gospel that take on those in authority and call them out. Today the passage from Luke's Gospel gives us a picture of Jesus criticizing the lawyers, the scribes and the Pharisees, all of them authorities with power over others.

However, as I read the Gospel this morning, I remember that the entire Gospel message is for all of us. In other words, we cannot simply say as we read the list of "woes" that these were meant for the other guy. If we are honest with ourselves, we are all in authority in some way or another, even if we sit at the bottom of the totem pole.

So the Gospel asks me to examine how I relate to others, especially those with whom I interact on a daily basis. Am I making life a burden for them, or am I easing the burdens they already carry? Am I listening and taking their words to heart, or am I simply waiting for my turn to talk? Am I concerned about the rules or the person? Do I recognize that each person I meet today brings me yet another opportunity to recognize Jesus?

The past two weeks have been vitriolic and full of arguments. When I went on Facebook today, I found that many people were continuing to add to the fusillade of criticism. Underlying much of what has been said in the last two weeks about the Congress and the President seems to be the contention that it is all their fault. The people are their victims. They are the authorities; I'm just the little guy. Perhaps it is time to take a look at my own conduct to see whether I am contributing to this division through my own conduct and words. What am I doing to make things better rather than worse?

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