Saturday, 25 August 2012
I am not sure that there is anyone who could not be caught up in the mob mentality, or perhaps mass mind would be a better phrase. You get a group together, fire them up and the momentum can take its individual members to places that they may have thought impossible. Hangings, beatings and burnings have been done by so called normal people all through history.
On some level I believe that the mob uses unresolved anger or frustrations to fuel finding a scapegoat -- sometimes actually guilty -- to vent it on. Being in a mob at least for a short time makes it acceptable, good and even virtuous. Rage fuels a mob; I would think we each have rage in us. In some buried so deep they may not know it, until the match is lit and the mob ignited. The individual’s will is absorbed by the collective, even if for a short time. I have no doubt that I could be easily immersed for a time by mob activity if things were ripe; to release the inner lava flow onto someone I could vent it and be cheered on as well.
When the woman was brought to Jesus who committed adultery was that also a mob scene? For some individuals in the group bringing the women to Jesus, I would say yes. People being caught up by the energy and excitement of the moment and in doing so allowing their inner desire to punish someone, anyone for what ever reason, to surface I believe could be manipulated by those who would use this human tendency to their advantage.
So the woman, filled with shame was brought forth to public view, to be judged by Jesus. Perhaps the leaders of the mob were curious on how he would proceed: would he allow her stoning, or would he break the law and say no? So they waited for his answer. He simply responded by putting their own conscience before them by stating, “He who is without sin, let him throw the first stone”. A paradox isn’t it? He woke them up by this statement and they ceased being a mob and were just men in a group that were asked a very deep and personal question. Perhaps even those who manipulated the group were also shamed; I hope so.
Jesus was sinless; he did not need a scapegoat. He did not have the need to lose himself in any kind of collective, so that the darker aspects of his inner world could be given permission to rain down havoc. Because of this, for him, Jesus, there are no “outsiders” or “others”, each is just ‘themselves’. The woman was healed by Jesus because he saw her. Knew her sin; did not reject or condemn her but told her to go and sin no more. I believe he also had the same compassion for the men in the crowd and perhaps the most for the leaders, who in their blindness were willing to use another human being for religious and political ends.
That which lessens our true humanity,
keeps us imprisoned in our inner hell,
our dark secrets and rages,
and fear of looking within
and accepting what we see in humility,
it is this that God’s anger and wrath seek out,
to burn away that which keeps us boxed in,
fearful of ourselves and others,
and healing our desire to hurt and revenge,
ourselves or others,
Where do you see the mob mentality influencing your life and the world around you? Who do you see as being a scapegoat? How does one get out of the mob mentality?