“Gunman Opens Fire in Texas Church, Kills 26 People Many Others Wounded”, “White Gunman Opens Fire in African-American SC Church – Kills 9 People, “Terrorist Attack in France, England, United States -X Number Killed, X Number Wounded ”
Before I go into my message of today, I would like to extend my sincerest condolences to the families, friends and loved ones to all those affected by the tragedy in Texas yesterday, Sunday November 5th, 2017 and also those affected by the terrorist attack in New York City on Tuesday, October 31, 2017. My hope is that my words may give some solace and/or understanding to senseless tragedies like this.
One look at those headlines and one might wail, “Where is my Higher Power in this mess? How could He allow something like this to happen? Why didn’t He stop it from happening?”
Tho it is no solace, our Higher Power has given you and me free will. The power to do and say, or not do and say what we want, when we want in life. He is with us always and there are messages in these messes. I look at His message like this. He loves us no matter what we do, and wants us to share that love with others, even those who harm us. It’s what we should do after these tragedies that is important. Simple as that.
Many of us know the Bible has conflicting stories about being injured by another person. One story talks about an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth while one says we should turn the other cheek and offer the other side. But which is it?
The passage, “…an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth…” is found in Exodus 21:24 and Leviticus 24:20. In those days, this was our Higher Power’s Personal Injury Law. It called for retribution that was to be properly administered only after an offender had stood trial before the priests and judges. They weighed the circumstances and the degree of deliberateness of the offense.
According to a 19th-century commentary on the Bible, it’s believed that this law was taken to literally and became grounds for authorizing retribution for private resentments. Revenge was committed by vindictive people and this revenge was often carried to the utmost extreme, and the punishment was more than the crime.
Later in the Bible, we learn that “…But I tell you not to resist an evil person. If someone slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other cheek..” in Matthew 5:39. This reflects the true spirit of our Higher Power’s Law. However, this did not mean that if you were struck on one side of the face that you should stagger to your feet and offer the other side as a target. In Biblical times, just as today, a slap is not necessarily meant as a literal slap, but more metaphorically. The “slap” is more of an insult intended to provoke a reaction to a confrontation. It means that if someone provokes you, we must avoid retaliation. This helps us to avoid what could become a vicious circle of repaying evil for evil.
Turning the other cheek does not mean that we should not defend ourselves against violent assailants. It means that we should never strike offensively or allow ourselves to be provoked to the point we take revenge. While it is wise to retreat whenever possible in order to avoid a fight, it is proper to take steps to protect ourselves and seek the help of the police if we are a victim of a crime.
Yes, evil exists in the world, there’s no denying it. It exists in villages and cities across the globe. If there’s one thing we can take away from this mess is that we must not keep the cycle of violence going. Do not retaliate a slap in the face with gunshots. For these frequent occurrences of violence, we need to seek an understanding of how and why they happen. From there, we need to look for solutions so that it can be prevented in the future. Yes, while the power of prayer helps in situations like these, we need humans to step up to help turn the tides on the Evils of this world.
Thought for the day: What will you do if someone strikes you? Will you get and eye for an eye or will you turn the other cheek? The choice is yours. I’ve made my choice.
***Please be sure to read more of my posts.