Sex Offenders the New Lepers
Just as in the times of Christ, there were a group of people who had an affliction and no one wanted to be around them. It wasn’t quite documented or known if someone could actually catch the disease from someone having it, but it was better to be safe than sorry; so those who had been determined as being affected were made to live outside the norms of society and civilization. They were referred to as “lepers” the bane of anything called human. Today, those labeled, “Registered Sex Offender” are now in similar circumstances.
I don’t have to contemplate any longer what it must have felt to be in this group. To be shunned by society, family and friends. To have to live “outside” the camp, sort of speak because society has determined this group not worthy of living with normal people, who fear for their lives as to be affected by them. In that time of the world, if anyone were to approach not considered as they are, those afflicted would have to cry out, “Leper, leper” to give warning so the person can choose another direction to avoid them. Today, the cry is heard often on the Internet and newspapers when someone is faced with life decisions in needing to move and never quite sure for just how long they’re able to live there and the electronic cry of “Registered Sex Offender” gives warning to those who wouldn’t have known.
A leper’s appearance would deteriorate over time where body parts would change in color and those most infected would literally fall off the host’s body. This must have been a truly hideous sight to see, never thinking how the person who was afflicted might have felt. I’m sure some family and friends would have had the passing thought, “It would be better if they were dead than to live in this way” is now echoed down through the ages where consideration of such is now the norm of those labeled “Registered Sex Offender”. However, there is no way to identify who these might be because there is no discoloration of skin and body parts remain intact. And I wonder just how many of those not afflicted with the title would change seats on a bus or train, or cross the street and gather the children closer together if such a recognition could be determined. Would you?
And so the leper lived wondering each day how they would subsists in finding adequate food, water and shelter from the elements. Each day going about their life, oftentimes grouped because there was no one else to care, to share humanity. Each day bringing them closer to a desired goal of giving that last breath so that peace could finally be had. It was certainly no way to live. And it’s not a way to live today.
I read story after story of similar situations in what is supposed to be an enlightened world where men, women and some teens, children, are now being shunned just as the leper. Families are broken, homes destroyed and “hope” is being dashed because of a mistake made and society’s lack of forgiveness is felt—daily and so the reminder of being an outcast is now the existence of these people, no, of my people because I am one of them. No one asks how you might have caught the “disease” and to what extent are you afflicted because the term “Registered Sexual Offender” is likened to “predator” and no one wants to be exposed to this. We don’t understand it but we fear it, so it is best that they all should be confined or left for dead in some ravine, underpass or barren place. Truly a depiction of shame, not so much for what someone might have done, but for what society is doing in the name of “protection”. It is a shame for such an enlightened world would have no recourse to think through this time in world’s history and try to make it better. But, just as the leper, once drug addict, homosexual, black and now Mexican who is an illegal, we seem as a society needing to label others to make ourselves distinctly not “like them”.
As I study the life of those lepers during our mankind’s history there was a bright spot for those so afflicted. There was a Man they called Christ who wasn’t afraid of them. In fact, He so loved them He often was found in their company and took a moment to spend enough time to bring “healing” to them. For some, it might have been too late but through the love they found peace to close their eyes for the last time while others were able to demonstrate to society’s leaders called priests they were acceptable again. And they were. They were labeled now “human” and returned to their family and friends and their “stuff” was given back. They could live amongst the people but I deeply wonder just how many really welcomed them back for fear that maybe a relapse might occur!
During this time of being a part of today’s “leper colony” I, too, seek the Man they call Christ. I know He’s able to to bring peace in my mind even if society’s ability to accept me is not ever realized. For you see, I have my sight on a place where all men, women and children are accepted for being labeled a “child of God” and where sins are forgiven. This is the “hope” I have today. And this is what I share with others who are perhaps are like me. It’s all I have to give. Please accept it and me.