H is for Hardhearted
“‘No! No!No!’ protested Jenny. ‘All my girls have visa. Or Australian citizen.’
The stony faced officer repeated his assertion that Roses are Red, of which she was the manager, was being investigated for conducting a business involving sexual servitude, and of employing and exploiting non-citizens in breach of the visas, and in contravention of Australia’s immigration laws.’
‘What is servitude?’
‘No slave! Girls like sex.’
‘Are you going to cooperate with our investigation or am I going to have to arrest you?’
‘No arrest. I do nothing wrong.’
Jenny and the officer held each other’s gaze as they engaged in a battle of wills.”
From chapter 14, Ashmore Grief
It is so easy to judge. We make assessments of people and situations all the time, often subconsciously: filtering them through the lenses of our preconceived ideas and our dearly beloved worldviews of which again most people are unaware. We have this urgent propensity to categorizeand to label. Even as we describe ourselves as open-minded and generous, we readily demonstrate bigotry and parsimony. We can be selectively narrow minded and stingy, and while we happily think of ourselves as good people, we may only require the wrong set of circumstances, to manifest darkness.
We kid ourselves if we think we are incapable of behaving the same way as the various objects of our scorn and disapproval. Life is very complicated but our solutions to the many problems which assail us testify of our naivety. We use band-aids to treat cancer. Honesty, mercy, generosity and self sacrifice surprise us. The soft and open hearted are seen as weaklings, so we cultivate hard heartedness.
Protection is the justification for hard heartedness, and fear underpins it. Those who are different from me, somehow pose a threat to me, so I must defend myself, my people and my territory. Ashmore Grief is the story of the fight to overcome coldness and prejudice. One of the most profound statements in the Bible is this: mercy triumphs over judgment.
What was your initial reaction to the above excerpt from Ashmore Grief?