By Papa Oscar
I’ve been a long-time advocate for showing empathy to various groups of people, particularly those in the LGBT community. A lot of these brothers and sisters struggle with something beyond their control for reasons we don’t understand, which is why we need to give them empathy. I mean, if I were in that position, I would want people to give me a pass on any inappropriate behavior without mentioning the R-word (repentance).
As I’m standing here in the convenience store, I’m suddenly confronted with the realization that all my attention on the LGBT community may have inadvertently excluded people in other communities who are equally deserving of our empathy.
For example, the man with the swastika tattooed on his forehead who just pulled out a handgun and shouting at the attendant.
Sure, I could say “that behavior is inappropriate…” but what about his feelings? I could judge him for the racial slurs he’s screaming and the swastika tattoo…but do I really know what he’s going through?
I mean, yeah, as he repeatedly beats the attendant with his gun, I could say “that’s not right…” but isn’t it more important to have empathy? Maybe there’s a valid reason he’s screaming the N-word over and over…and if I were him, I would not want to get in trouble for dumping the cash in the register into a bag, nor would I want to be shamed for choices that are likely only made because of external circumstances…
As he’s leaving the convenience store and entering his mud-covered truck, I can’t help but wish him well in all his endeavors.