I’m not sure when it became en vogue to pay people back as we feel they deserve, but it is a horrible twisting of God’s real “golden rule.” Injustice should not breed injustice, especially when the first act has not been proven. What has been proven is that people are excusing bad behaviors as balancing justice. Individuals are burning businesses of people who have done them no wrong, and journalists are publishing private information of the innocent family of a perceived wrong-doer.
And what if we all, including the police, did what rioters are doing in the name of justice? What if, every time an African-American gang member shot a white police officer, the rest of the white police officers burnt down the houses of all the gang members and their families? Without any color or race in play, what if police routinely attacked innocent civilians coast to coast as a method of payback for the deaths of their brothers in blue? Would any consider that to be justice?
What does Scripture tell us that God considers justice or right behavior? Here are a few verses from the New Living Testament…
Matthew 22:39b–Love your neighbor as yourself.
Matthew 5:44-45a—But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven.
Ephesians 4:31-32—Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
Two wrongs have never made a right. I believe Yeshua told people to forget the old “eye for an eye” instructions for more than just His mercy. I believe it was because people misused and abused God’s instruction, and they used payback for personal reasons instead of under God’s direction.
If we try hard enough, any one of us could find a reason to hate, or at least dislike, any other of us. I have known people who wished evil on others just because of what state they were born in or what team they favored. This idea that we should hate someone because of the job they do, the race they were born into, their financial status, or whatever, is senseless. Those who incite the hatred in others are just as guilty as those who start the fires because they ignite the matches that ignite the matches.
Here’s what I want to know: Where are those who are using this situation to teach their children why they should never put themselves in bad positions by getting involved in criminal activities? Foolishness is born into the heart of a child, and only the rod of correction will drive it from them. Children aren’t necessarily innocent just because they’re children, and by the time they’re teens, they are old enough to take responsibility for their own behaviors. There’s no personal responsibility for them or their “defenders” in trying to refocus the attention on how the police dealt with the criminal instead of reminding youth that crime doesn’t pay.
This new “Golden Rule” as promoted by events like the Ferguson riots, and older versions of the same, is neither golden nor a good rule to live by. It’s all about division even if it disguises itself as unifying people because it’s only unifying for the purpose of being set against others.
The spirit of division began in the garden when Adam blamed God for the woman who helped him sin, and Eve blamed the serpent for offering the sin. In truth, Eve was responsible for listening to the temptation, and Adam was responsible for choosing to obey a voice other than that of his Creator. It continues to this day in dividing race, gender, status, etc. It won’t stop as long as sin reigns in us, but that doesn’t mean any of us has to live by its rule. Will you be one to choose God’s word and rules over man’s?
Genesis 18:19a has The Lord talking to the angels about Abraham and says, “For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment.”
The first time I read this Scripture, my only thought was, “Can God say this about me?” How blessed to have God testify to the angels that He has found a subject He knows well enough to know the subject’s future holds not only personal lawfulness, but also that the subject will teach lawfulness to others.
Today, my husband and I were in our Torah studies in Leviticus. (We’re a bit behind in the actual portion we should be reading, but we don’t want to skip around and miss valuable information.) For a few weeks now, we’ve been reading about the building of the wilderness tabernacle (also called The Tabernacle of Testimony and another topic I plan to write about). As I was listening to the words about all the laws concerning the tabernacle, sacrifices, offerings, etc., I remembered the words I had read earlier from Genesis and something hit me; these laws came well after God called Abraham a “law keeper.” And then I questioned in my mind, “I wonder what laws of God Abraham was keeping?” I understood, even as I asked, that Abraham was not keeping specific laws, but was keeping a lawful heart.
So, here we are in our current society looking to create law after law after law. Now, the focus is on gun laws (whether or not they violate our country’s foundational Constitution). But the gun laws, like the many other laws that are constantly in motion or discussion these days, are just a symptom. They will not create the answer so many hope they will, because they do not fix the real problem: they do not fix the need for laws in the first place–a need that comes from a general spirit of lawlessness.
How could Abraham have taught those of his household to keep the laws of God when there were none yet given? Because he was not teaching specific laws. He was teaching others to have a lawful heart, and to yield to the instruction of God from pure obedience. Later, it was necessary to create a priesthood and nearly 700 levitical laws to direct people because their hearts had become lawless. And, as so many have noted about these laws, and even many of the laws of our land now, they come with a big dose of bondage.
But imagine if we all strived to keep in our hearts the laws of yielding to a Higher Authority. We would automatically think of others before ourselves. We would not have to be instructed not to lie, steal, cheat, murder, etc. We would not purposely do things to others that we would not want someone doing to us. And if everyone lived that way, we would not need any other laws either from God or from man.
There is freedom in having a lawful heart because we do not need to fall under the bondage and condemnation of external law. Even though we will not be perfect, just as King David was not perfect and failed God multiple times, we can be called people after God’s own heart. And in that way, we will not only be able to say that we know Him, but He can testify to the angels, “I know that one!”
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