I recently finished a brilliant book called Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. It is truly a fantastic book about the Equal Justice Initiative and the work this organization has done to try and help those who are poor, wrongly condemned, and mentally ill in the criminal justice system.
Toward the end of the book Stevenson paints a picture of being a “stonecatcher”. It is a partial reference to John 8:3-11 and the story of a woman caught in the act of adultery. In this Biblical story, the Pharisees try to trap Jesus by quoting the Law of Moses which states to stone the woman and asking Jesus what they should do. Jesus’ profound reply is “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” In this story, the people laid down their stones and the woman lived.
However, like you already know, the world we live in does not always go this way. Which brings up the idea of being a “stonecatcher”. A person who is an advocate. A person who stands up for those who have no voice, or a limited one.
It seems that everywhere we look people are casting their stones of hate and condemnation for this and for that, especially with campaign season upon us. It seems that everyone has a loud opinion [via facebook, twitter, blogs, etc.] of whether or not someone is doing something “right”.
This is more than just a call to consider your own faults and failures before you start casting stones, this is a call to be a stonecatcher. This is a call to stand up for the people who are being treated poorly whether its on Facebook or in the criminal justice system.
Simple (and not so simple) ways to start to achieve this:
- Don’t say mean things to people on the internet or in person (I am so sad that I even have to type this)
- Write/Email/Call your legislators about the issues that you feel passionate about and feel that people are being mistreated (ex. mental health, criminal justice system, sexual assault)
- Considering and potentially becoming a pen-pal to a person who is incarcerated
- Become a CASA volunteer. This one is not a “simple” way to achieve things because it is a lot of hard work and takes a significant time commitment.
Be an advocate, be a stonecatcher.
Most importantly, be kind and keep social working.