Over the weekend I saw some chatter about an incident in Washington where some Catholic school kids were alleged to have behaved badly.
I have to admit, my first thought was : so what? The whole point of adolescence is that we're learning to be adults and that means people are going to make mistakes and do stupid things.
Show me someone who doesn't make mistakes and I'll show you someone who does nothing (which is itself arguably a mistake).
I'm not on social media anymore, so the rising outrage largely passed me by. I caught glimpses of it elsewhere and as time passed, it became clear that once again, things were not as they at first appeared.
It's now looking like the boys were the victims rather than the perpetrators, but the larger question is why does everyone get so worked up about this sort of thing? Why is every alleged slight now a national emergency?
Today is the official recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday, and if anyone had a reason to hold a grudge, it was him and his colleagues who worked to hard to end racial segregation.
Explicit in this movement was the concept of forgiveness, a moral absolution for past wrongs.
Dr. King was a Christian minister and perhaps Christianity's most striking feature is the emphasis on forgiveness and mercy. Many faiths may praise these traits but Christianity requires them.
As we've become more secular, we've forgotten how important this is. The social media world spends each and every day looking for someone new to be destroyed, and they pat themselves on the back with every life they've ruined.
It doesn't matter if there was a mistake, or if the story wasn't true or - and this is critical - the person who gave offense sincerely apologizes and expresses remorse.
In fact, doing that usually makes matters worse.
I've seen a lot of disturbing trends in society over the years, but I think this is the worst because without mercy, we're unable to move forward, at which point life simply becomes one massive grudge match. Who wants to live that way?
I think the best way to honor Dr. King today is to forgive someone, anyone. Just let something pass. Your soul will be healthier for it and the world will be a better place.