“An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Such telling words that remind us of the distractive power of the ego! We’ve all witnessed in our own way how much “an eye for an eye” is a concept that clearly never creates any kind of resolution nor does it bring any kind of peace to an otherwise already aggravated situation. It just keeps promoting one violence after another as each person that’s wronged keeps trying to figure out how to outdo the other in the process of seeking revenge. In all honesty, it’s a process that just promotes hate! It’s an absolutely distractive way of trying to seek justice that can very easily destroy everyone involved and spiral on for decades.
Yesterday another act of terrorism took place in London. The lives of innocent people that were just getting on with their day were cut short by someone that chose to exercise hate over love. The main thing that stands out from all the people in the past that have carried out such outrageous acts of violence, is that they all display symptoms of being so deeply hurt. I’ve come to learn that “hurting people, hurt people!” It’s the only way they know how to make themselves be heard. They’re acting out their fear in a manner that’s almost a final plea for help. It’s really makes me understand why hate and retaliation will never be an answer to this violence that’s going on in the world because it never addresses the person’s real problem but promotes an even darker side that just pushes them into a deeper darkness that has to self-destruct!
This is what makes it so important for us to heed these outstanding words of wisdom from Jesus in Matthew 5: 38-48:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth [punishment that fits the offense].’ But I say to you, do not resist an evil person [who insults you or violates your rights]; but whoever slaps you on the right cheek, turn the other toward him also [simply ignore insignificant insults or trivial losses and do not bother to retaliate—maintain your dignity, your self-respect, your poise]. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also [for the Lord repays the offender]. And whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor (fellow man) and hate your enemy. “But I say to you, love [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for] your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may [show yourselves to] be the children of your Father who is in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on those who are evil and on those who are good, and makes the rain fall on the righteous [those who are morally upright] and the unrighteous [the unrepentant, those who oppose Him]. For if you love [only] those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do that? And if you greet only your brothers [wishing them God’s blessing and peace], what more [than others] are you doing? Do not even the Gentiles [who do not know the Lord] do that? You, therefore, will be perfect [growing into spiritual maturity both in mind and character, actively integrating godly values into your daily life], as your heavenly Father is perfect.
It is easy to love and even forgive the people that love us but it’s not easy doing so to the people that don’t, especially those that have hurt us so deeply! I’ve seen some of the most incredible acts of forgiveness that have blown my mind and left me in awe, wondering how someone can humble themselves to such a level that can accept forgiveness from a person that’s cause them such tremendous pain. But the result is always a level of healing that changes a person’s life and takes them from total darkness and into the light, as they finally start to find meaning in their own lives and change beyond recognition!
In essence, Jesus is asking us to learn to love and accept each other and this means forgiving each other too! I can’t help imagining what a different world we would be living in, if we could all learned to make each other feel acknowledged and wanted. If we’re really honest with ourselves, we’ll realize that it’s undoubtedly the only solution that can bring an end to all this violence that’s beginning to feel uncomfortably and sadly more like our new normal. Like Jesus says:
“Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”