Friday, April 13, 2012

Casting the First Stone

A news article in a local Massachusetts newspaper reported the recent arrest of a lawyer late one night for drunk driving, endangerment of two young children in the back seat, and other charges. I glanced at the comments posted by readers in response to this article, and was dismayed by how contemptuous and cruel they were. While this woman’s reckless, dangerous, and irresponsible drinking and driving behavior that put her, her children, and others at great risk understandably evokes anger and outrage, it may be helpful for us all to remember the wisdom and truth contained in the Biblical comment, “Let him/her who is without sin cast the first stone.” Other wisdom sources have their equivalents. Which of us who has lived long enough has not done something to be ashamed of? Which of us can stand up to full public exposure of everything we’ve ever done? Or of even just the one worst thing we’ve ever done? Although I don’t know her, I would like to at least consider the possibility that this woman, free of the impairing effects of alcohol, likely strives to be a good mother, good lawyer, good citizen. If she can accept this experience as a wake-up call and seek the help she needs for what may be a previously unrecognized problem, she may, like may others in recovery from alcoholism (or some other addictive behavior) end up saving more lives than she ever endangered. Heaping blame and shame on her will not support that process. Nor will punitive action on the part of her employer. This is a trouble woman who needs to find her way into recovery, a challenging and humbling but ultimately highly rewarding process that culminates in offering assistance and service to others similarly afflicted. Ideally, each of the individuals involved with this woman’s case, or life, will contribute in some way, however large or small, to a life transformed, enabling her to move beyond this moment of painful humiliation.

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