The chatter started as soon as we got into the taxi. From appearances, I thought it was going to be a quiet ride. We had just wrapped up several days of meetings, dinners, and late evening conversations. My mind was tired. My body ached. The last thing on my mind was idle conversation with a stranger.
As the chatter picked up speed, I found myself caught in conversation with a fast talking Kiwi hack. He was interesting. Without saying a bad word about anyone, the stories unfolded. He had an opinion on a wide range of subjects, yet I sensed he wanted to know mine. I found myself in his world, wondering what my response would be to the different situations.
The stories ran on until we arrived. I realized that in any given situation, it was his word versus his passenger. If one listened, you could feel the truthfulness of his stories. Yet, how would others react? Would they listen with their hearts or minds? Could they get beyond the logic and find the common sense? Would he stand accused without anyone coming to his aid?
The question haunts my memories. Accusations are easy to throw. Words can make dangerous arrows. Most slip by our defenses.
The fact that our lives are filled with accusers is not new. It is natural to strike out at the Other. When someone says, “We’ve found this man time and again disturbing the peace, stirring up riots against Jews all over the world, the ringleader of a seditious sect called Nazarenes,” (Acts 24.5) it is one man’s word against another.
The best defense to any accusation is to be consistent in one’s actions. If the accusation is true, it will be consistently true.
Human justice is never ideal or perfect. As much as we hope that it is (or will be), it is not.
I stepped out of the taxi filled with hope. Meeting people willing to risk while engaging in living is fun. I love the stories. I love that they are doing the stuff of living.