A March 7, 2017 article in the New York Times revealed that the city had spent $520,000 investigating the legality of two $2,500 payments made during a 2008 City Council campaign. In 2008 Debbie Rose was running for city council in Staten Island. During the campaign, two men, David G. Thomas and David Jones, received $2,500 each for their services to Ms. Rose’s cause.
In 2012 the Staten Island district attorney, Dan Donovan filed a motion to hire a special prosecutor to investigate the two suspicious payments. Private attorney, Roger Bennet Adler, was hired for the job. For the next five years, at a fee of $300 per hour, Adler worked off and on to compile a 23-count indictment – despite scant evidence, numerous warnings from judges that the case was unsubstantiated, and countless opportunities to drop the case.
Once presented, the case was almost instantly dismissed. The article noted that Adler’s final bill for his services has yet to be submitted. But to date, however, the city has already spent 100 times the amount of the “questionable” payment – all to determine if it was legal or not.
But before we allow our outrage at this wastefulness to boil over, let’s take a look at the energy we expend on our own fault-finding endeavors. We all suffer injustices, some great and some very small. We allow resentment to build up in our hearts. In our minds we go “on the attack” against our offender. We criticize, we judge, we mutilate.
Sometimes this merciless scrutiny goes on indefinitely. When we allow this to happen, what’s transpiring on in the rest of our lives? Aren’t our fault-finding pursuits draining us of precious time and energy? Isn’t everything else in our lives suffering loss or being derailed entirely? Doesn’t our resentment poison our most cherished relationships? In the end, our fault-finding quest becomes a far greater injustice than the one we’ve dedicated our lives to investigate.
The Scripture orders a far better path – forgiveness. In Matthew 18:21-35 we find one of the sternest warnings of our necessity to forgive others. It begins by Peter asking Jesus, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” Jesus answers him, “No, not seven times, but seventy times seven!” Then Jesus told a scary parable of what will happen to us if we do not forgive others when they sin against us – we forfeit our own forgiveness before God.
But forgiving others is not only essential to our own salvation (Matthew 6:14-15). It’s essential to our own peace of mind and happiness. When we forgive others, we let go of a very heavy burden. When we forgive others, we let go of a scorching fire that otherwise consumes us. When we forgive, we free ourselves to enjoy the life God gave us.
PRAYER: Dear Father in heaven, please soften my hardened heart and empower me to let go of my resentment and unforgiveness. Please, open my eyes to my own sins and offences and show me my own need for Your forgiveness. Please, dear Father, save me from myself, heal my heart, and fill it with your love. Amen.