Today’s current climate almost makes it too easy to write about spiritual growth and personal progress. With all the turmoil we are all being provided with ample opportunity to really evolve in our spiritual journeys. There are so many targets for us to direct our self-righteous fury at and tons of opportunities to practice genuine forgiveness. This is a time to remind ourselves of our own failures and learn compassion for those who are still bound by their lesser emotions. That’s where I want to direct our focus today.
PROFITING FROM MISERY
It’s easy for us to point at the two brothers Matt and Noah Colvin and shout our disgust at their recent price gouging. I mean, how dare they hike up the cost on toilet paper and hand sanitizer at a time like this. We get all up in arms like good little social media puppets and openly bash them. Of course we do. It gives us something to direct our anger at and paint ourselves out as champions of our common man.
How many champions do you suppose avidly watch shows like Storage Wars? As they watch the people scurrying through storage units do you think they stop and ask themselves who lost out? Oh we can imagine they were abandoned items that were left behind in a move but is that always the case? What of the single mother who lost everything when her psychotic ex-husband cleaned her out while she was at work? Long shot? Maybe. Let’s just call it Schrödinger’s storage unit and move on with it then.
Some of us want to see the Colvin brothers locked behind bars. Bars that represent the biggest profiteers of misery the world has ever known. However, we’re happy to see these institutions exist. After all, they save us from the really bad humans who don’t belong in society; the rapists, the murderers, the dope fiend plotting to steal your baby girls Xbox. A high percentage of these addicts belong to a group that needs psychological help not criminal records. We can’t seem to stop watching them either. Crime is one of the most tried and true markets in Hollywood.
Come on. It’s another racket. Some say it’s designed to keep people in their place. One only has to look at who’s incarcerated to realize there might be a ring of truth to it. If poverty is a crime then prison is a business. With 3 billion in tax generated revenue coming in annually it’s one we won’t see slowing down any time soon. Besides, there’s that whole part where it’s a necessary evil. One that houses the sorts who actually are criminally minded and violent. The gangsters who make their money by any means available. Whether it be drugs or human trafficking people will sell anything we give value to. Isn’t that free enterprise though?
We’re capitalists and getting money is what we do. We worship the dollar. That’s the real reason Suzie Homemaker gets so upset when she sees someone taking items the people need and selling them at an astronomical fee. It’s Martin Shkreli all over again. Why? We’re obsessed with the value of things and think of those who couldn’t afford to pay $60 for a roll of toilet paper as less fortunate. How so? Do they actually have a need of said toilet paper? Maybe not everyone is buying into the social media nonsense and rushing to buy more things to protect the things they already have. Maybe they used their MetroPCS smartphone and looked into the matter themselves and realized it’s all hype.
Peace of mind is a lot like common sense, it doesn’t have a price tag. Isn’t that what we’re really talking about here? It’s funny to me because money can’t buy a cure any more than it can provide freedom from the fear gripping our country right now. Inner peace is exactly that, a peace that comes from within. It’s guaranteed all the drama unfolded in our minds long before we took to our feeds and started projecting them into the world around us.
NO JUDGE NO JURY
I write to help others not to spread panic or pander to the lowest common denominator. Before I post a piece I ask myself, “will this help or hurt?” I never want to look down my nose on people and tell them how they should feel about ANYTHING. I feel that our ability to release all of our thoughts into the wild is a double-edged sword that should be wielded carefully.
I mean, who am I to judge? Most of my opinion on the prison industry was formed when I was inmate number #1437106 serving time in TDCJ for manufacturing and delivering narcotics. While it gives me a unique perspective I have to remember that those grey suits were just men and women doing their job. Considering most Texas prisons are in small towns it was the only decent job most of them could get. Even with that understanding I am not the person to ask about how a fair amount of them handle themselves. Putting it simply, I have no love for what they represent and I am blinded by that opinion so I cannot give an accurate account of how they are as human beings. I harbor too many feelings in spite of the fact that I only crossed their paths because of my own misdeeds.
Here lies the root issue, we’re wearing lenses. We have all these opinions based on our own sense of right and wrong. Our experiences have shaped our moral compasses and we see the world the way we choose to. Then we come up with all these cute little sayings to justify why our worldview is right. “Well I’d love to see your point of view but I can’t get my head that far up my….” You even completed that quote based on your own sense social decency.
Jesus said “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Condemn not, and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven.” With that in mind this is a phenomenal time to be alive. We have all sorts of people hell bent on profiting from the plight of others. Sure what the Colvin brothers did operates in a moral grey area but maybe what they’re really guilty of is doing it on a small scale. I bet they look up to the people at Nestle who own Detroit’s water supply with understanding. Remember Flint? It’s supply and demand isn’t it? Maybe their moral compass is a bit different and they can manage to sleep at night.
As for me, I’m a convicted felon who’s failed in every way possible. When it gets down to the nitty gritty there aren’t too many who would stop and think twice before executing me, especially if all they had to go on was my appearance. No amount of Armani is going to hide my prison tattoos and cover the scars from a lifetime of battling. It’s hard enough talking my way around my criminal record in interviews let alone show all the grace my God has given me. So before we string others up against a wall might I remind you of another quote Jesus uttered…
“Let he who has no sin cast the first stone.”