Now is not the time for revolution

Protesters attempt to pull down the statue of Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Square near the White House on June 22, in Washington, DC. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Protesters attempt to pull down the statue of Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Square near the White House on June 22, in Washington, DC. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

I saw a woman I once knew at a school reunion who walked up to me and made a big deal of quickly looking at my neck, then looking at my face, looking at my neck, then looking at my face, looking at my neck, then looking at my face.

This got annoying pretty quickly, so I asked her "Um, what are you doing?"

She replied "Oh, nothing... It's just that ever since you've started wearing that little white thing around your neck, I'd never noticed how yellow your teeth are getting!"

So, I then started quickly looking at my clothes, then looking at her, looking at my clothes, then looking at her, looking at my clothes, then looking at her, until it got annoying, which was pretty quickly.

She asked me "Um, what are you doing?"

I replied "Oh nothing... It's just that, ever since I've started wearing black, I'd never noticed how grey your hair is getting!"

I didn't actually say that by the way, but I almost did.

I didn't say it, I almost did. Didn't say it ...

How can we stop people from being so unkind?

If I could solve this global problem they'd make me the Pope, but I'm fairly confident the reason why people are so unkind is because they are so unhappy.

Back in 1999 I knew an old lady; well, she seemed old to me back then.

Her husband was dying and I wasn't a priest back then but she called me when her husband was dying and I sat with her as he did.

I visited her a few days after the funeral and she told me she was going to sell up their house and move to the city.

I was only a pup at the time but I suggested that perhaps, because she was still so understandably depressed, that she should maybe wait maybe six months, even a year, before she made such life-changing decisions.

This lovely lady is still old and she still lives in her same old country town today, 21 years later.

As a priest I have met numerous people who, after something terrible happened in their life, wanted to do something rash, even foolish, and do it immediately.

As a priest I have met numerous people who, after something terrible happened in their life, wanted to do something rash, even foolish, and do it immediately.

My counsel has always been the same: don't make big decisions immediately after a tragedy that will change the rest of your life.

The Bible tells us God is gentle on those who are already suffering, but there are horrible people out there who don't operate by this policy.

With the one exception of those who abuse their authority, I personally find nobody in this world more contemptible than those who heap misery on people who are already suffering.

In many cases they even attempt to profit from other people's grief.

In 2015 an Oxford University study in Sweden of more than 47,000 people confirmed what we've known since the beginning; that the risk of violent crime is increased in individuals who are depressed.

In the Book of Genesis, God asked Cain only just before he murdered his brother Abel "Why are you angry and downcast?" and warned Cain that "sin is crouching at the door, hungry to get you. You can still master him."

Who is depressed at the moment? Almost all of us.

We haven't been this miserable as a nation since possibly the Vietnam War.

Millions of Australians have either lost their jobs, had them downscaled, or been forced to stay home from school and worse. Millions.

Now is not the right time to be making big decisions while so many are angry and depressed. Now is not the time for revolutions, pulling down statues, rewriting history or renaming states.

People wanting to change the name of the state of Victoria are forgetting that Western Australia hasn't even named its state yet. Neither has South Australia nor the Northern Territory.

Or do these people think there were "name our state" competitions, and the winning names from among thousands of entrants were "Western Australia", "South Australia" and "Northern Territory"?

On Saturday after the Black Lives Matter protest in Reading, West London, one man stabbed six people of which three are already dead.

Now is the time for self-reflection not mass revolution.

Twitter: @frbrendanelee

This story Now is not the time to be talking revolution first appeared on The Canberra Times.