****SPOILER ALERT! IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED DOWNTON ABBEY, SEASON THREE, AND YOU INTEND TO, YOU MAY WANT TO STOP READING!****
One of my Facebook friends posted a question the other day about how others handle scenes on television that they find distasteful. Specifically, she was referring to some unsavory scenes in Downton Abbey. My first thought was, “What unsavory scenes?” Then I remembered: Thomas tried to kiss Jimmy. Apparently, some viewers were offended.
Here’s the thing. Sin is sin. That kiss wasn’t any more sinful than O’Brien lying to Thomas that Jimmy liked him, or to Jimmy that he should tolerate Thomas’ behavior to preserve his job. It wasn’t any more sinful than Rose giving Edith the slip to cavort with a married man. For that matter, it’s not more sinful than Edith thinking of cavorting with a married man! Cora blamed Robert for Sybil’s death. Mary withheld information from Matthew about their infertility issues. She had ‘a minor surgery’ without his knowing. (I still haven’t figured out what that might have been, and the writer in me is very curious!)
I started to comment on that post, but nothing I could think to say would have been helpful. We all have limits and prejudices. There are certain things we can’t watch, but we should not turn a blind eye to the knowledge that what we see on TV happens in the real world whether we agree with it or not. So what’s the best way to handle it?
I think prayer is the only solution. Not that it would help to pray for the soul of a fictional character, but for those bound by that particular sin. Having said that, be careful what you pray for because the results may be unexpected. You may find that the world remains unchanged, that the change happens inside you. What would happen if we stopped judging people and started loving them? We don’t have to agree with their choices. My grandmother taught me to hate the sin and love the sinner. It sounds easy, but it’s not. Even so, it’s what we’re called to do. After all, there is probably someone out there judging you for something. If you knew about it, what would you do? Confront them? Defend yourself? Apologize? Cry? Accept the criticism and try to change?
We’re all imperfect. Regardless of our faith (or lack thereof), we make mistakes and have bad habits. We all make choices that someone, somewhere would think stupid or ignorant. Tolerance is not the same as giving the benefit of the doubt to another of God’s kids. Love the sinner.