Gaining favor at the expense of others

The woman was caught “in the very act of committing adultery.” Did you ever wonder where the man involved was while all of this was going on? Perhaps he was right there, part of the crowd bringing the woman to Jesus for judgment. Certainly the people who caught the woman must have known who she was with. But that was a different time and people looked at things differently. Or did they? True, in this particular instance we find an example of the place of women in a society where a woman is considered property and to commit adultery is to shame the man who “owns” her (whether by marriage or by blood). But could there be something else going on as well?

Jim and John are in competition for promotion to partnership in their company. John has some inside information about Jim that could make him look bad if the people on the promotion board knew about it.

What should John do with that information?

Laura and Janene are tied for top sales figures and the bonus that comes with it. Janene accidently stumbles onto a bit of information that could affect Laura’s credibility with her customers. If the information is true it could definitely give her an advantage, but if it’s false, it could wrongly destroy a woman’s reputation. How should Janene handle this?

The temptation is to make ourselves look good at the expense of someone else.
Mary raises her hand in class: “Teacher, Johnny did (fill in the blank).” Parish committees fight over supplies and room assignments, insisting that the people on the other committee don’t work nearly as hard as they do. Politicians sling mud and hope that it will stick before it gets thrown back onto them. Political operatives are exposed. Government attorneys are fired. The list goes on and on.

Van Benthem is a longtime pastoral minister in the diocese.