the quality of mercy is not strained

We’ve changed, my family and I. Growing up, we were right and we knew it. We had “a new approach to life.” We had principles, we had convictions, and we had the answers! What we didn’t have, though, was much compassion. Don’t get me wrong–we felt sorry for people! But we knew, too, that the only reason people were poor is because they didn’t work hard and save their money. People got divorced because they didn’t follow God’s principles. And people were in jail because they had broken the law and by golly they needed to pay their debt to society!

Or maybe I was the only one who thought that way.

Whatever it was, I had life all figured out and neatly compartmentalized. (That’s easy to do if you never read anything except what supports your position.)

But somehow, somewhere, we began to change. I realized that maybe the system is flawed, and the jails aren’t punishing but are instead producing more hardened criminals. I still believe in the American Dream, but maybe the reason that success stories about inner-city kids making good are so universally lauded is because those stories are rare, and the deck is stacked against those kids more strongly than I thought. I still believe, though, that these solutions aren’t found in government, but must be solved through private initiative.

My family changed, too. My dad, who once so strongly derided the idea of the criminal justice system rehabilitating, now wants to run a halfway house to help people get back on their feet. My brother is a libertarian. My sister wants to be a good landlord, not taking advantage of those in her houses.

Somewhere along the line, we stopped judging and started loving.


~ by wildeyedwonder on September 20, 2006.

2 Responses to “the quality of mercy is not strained”

  1. sad part. no where in there did you mention how porky had changed. porky… likes exploiting people?

  2. This article is terrific. I think you’ll enjoy it.

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