On the opinion page of the Peace Weekly, the columnist tells us about a judge who was so angry at the person living in the apartment above him that he punctured the tires and destroyed the lock of his car.
with noise in older buildings are not that uncommon but to have a
judge, an upholder of the law, react as he did received a lot of media
coverage. A legal system is of course supposed to do away with the use
of violence in solving conflicts between citizens. And when someone from
within the legal system itself resorts to vigilante-type punishment it
made the incident especially surprising to the columnist, however, was
that the judge was involved in a case where a college professor was
fired; the professor litigated against the college for firing him and
demanded to be reinstated. He lost the case and tried to harm the judge. Our judge was involved in this
case where the professor because the verdict went against him took
revenge on the judge. The incident was made into a movie, well-known in
Korean society. Obviously, what made the judge resort to this kind of
action was a sign of how upset he was with the situation in which he
found himself, and a lack of trust in the legal system.
legal system we enjoy helps to
maintain a peaceful society, and private revenge is not permitted, but
we also need to understand and respect the pain that many feel
before they resort to revenge outside the law.
are all familiar with the horrible crimes of murder we are continually
exposed to by our media. Not only the victim suffers, but their families
as well, because of these crimes. The mental suffering the families
have to experience and the hate they have for the perpetrators of these
crime is hard for us to understand.
contrast, it is often heard that criminals while in prison find
religion, and are forgiven. We have had a lot of talk recently about
self-forgiveness. The documentary films Forgiveness and Secret Sunshine are
two such films. It is easy to understand the mixed feelings of the
families that have suffered from these crimes, when hearing that the
criminal has found religion and been forgiven.
because of a failure to forgive, there will be conflicts such as the
one over a noisy apartment dweller, a breakdown in family life and
cleansing. The lack
of moral training to develop the virtues of patience and generosity is
also a dimension of this sad story.
told us to forgive seventy times seven. These words are beautiful but
also harsh. Harsh because he did not give us concrete guidelines on how
to forgive. But when we think deeply on the matter, Jesus had trust in
us. He entrusted us with the ways to go about solving our problems,
supported by his great love. We have to admit, however, that are efforts
have been feeble.
further advanced than Korea have more facilities, says the columnist,
to help persons with mental scars to overcome their difficulties in
forgiving, both self and others. The Church, the columnist concludes,
should take a lead, perhaps with special programs on how best to open
ourselves to a more willing acceptance of the way of forgiveness. It
would, at the very least, remove some of the conflicts that now burden
our legal system, and make for a more peaceful society.