Killing Grace: what we learn about humanity from a viral video
In the past week this video has gone viral. It depicts a series of flagrant fouls committed at a high school basketball game in Washington.
The reaction to this video has been outrage and anger. The comments on a variety of sites are primarily full of people leveraging jokes about the weight of the primary perpetrator and talking about what they’d do to him if they were in the game. This reaction points out a toxic problem endemic of our society–a mixture of a lack of grace and propensity for violence.
I didn’t read through all the comments (I don’t need to spend six hours doing that–I’d go crazy), but I didn’t come across one that expressed any sentiment of grace for the offenders–even grace paired with justice or punishment. This is what we usually do with others, just not with ourselves. We look at the dastardly deeds of others and judge their character and integrity and then condemn them. A boy who commits some hard fouls in a basketball game is worthy of being “beat to death” because he is “lazy and worthless”. However, the very people who judge this boy engage in personal attacks that amount to bullying and verbal violence to express their judgement. My guess is that if you asked them they would say those harsh and often horrible words are not indicative of their overall character. I do the same thing too often. I have good reasons for my shortcomings but others do not.
Not only do we lack grace, but we are drawn to violence. I wonder if that isn’t part of the reason this video is so popular. We celebrate violence in football, MMA, and to deal with bullies. We fight bullying with bullying. We fight violence with violence. All of this serves to do nothing but increase the bullying and violence. It’s true from elementary school to the interaction of nations. It’s almost like there’s destruction programmed into our DNA.
The only answer to our lack of grace and love of violence is the gospel of Jesus Christ. He is the one who offers grace where it is not deserved. When we receive that it can lead to us doing the same. He is the one who faced bullying and violence with love and forgiveness. Only in his power can we do the same and end the escalation of these destructive things.