The featured image above reminds me a lot of who we are. In our state of anger, frustration, and annoyance at the world’s brokenness, we often attempt to fix it. Like the aimless hammer batting away at nails on board, we leave things more broken than before. It’s not that we should turn a blind eye to the evils we see; we need to approach them in a different light.
There is only one way to defeat irrational hatred and evil, and that is with senseless kindness and good. Fire does not fight fire very well. The most vital thing anyone can do is accept things as they are: broken–perhaps, damaged beyond the point of human repair. The Truth of the Gospel cannot be ignored on this point, either. In a broken world, God accepted humankind in the state it was in–even unto death. As Jesus hung dying on the cross with broken people cheering on his dismay, he received them as they are. He said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”
Dale Carnegie once wrote that people have the uncanny ability to justify just about anything they say or do. He noted that even mass murders and criminals see themselves as heroes, more or less–not villains. If the worst of us depict ourselves as good people to maintain their dignity, what about every other human being we encounter in a day? Maybe this is the reason God sent his Son to save, not condemn. Condemnation would not bring God’s people home, but love, forgiveness, and sacrifice did.
Now, don’t get me wrong, Justice is not a limp wing to be ignored. We can’t let lawbreakers, murders, and the sort run amok. They deserve to be sentenced accordingly to allow society the hope and promise of safety. However, we can’t assume they are more broken than we are because their bars are made of iron, and ours are not. We bind ourselves with vengeance, handcuff ourselves with anger, and jail ourselves with hatred toward anyone we deem evil, wicked, cruel, or different from us. Our brokenness leads us to folly judgments from time to time. It is for this reason that vengeance is for the Lord to administer, not us. The same God who sees us for who we are sees them the same. He who sees all is the only one who can administer perfect punishment.
To get to the point at hand:
- Forgiveness sets us free.
- Vengeance and hate hold us back.
- Acceptance of the world we live in is the ONLY way it will ever change.
The next time you see tragedy, hear of despair, and experience the world beget gross darkness, say, “Father, forgive them, they do not know what they do.” It is contrary to this world; it does not make sense. But I guarantee you you’ll feel the weight of the world fall off your shoulders and you’ll become a better person for it. Acceptance of others is admitting you’re no better than them. And the first step at improving at anything is admitting to it.
Please help us to forgive and accept everyone! Remind us that grudges, hate, and resentment towards the world only hinder us and don’t change a single thing. Free us from ourselves, and grant us peace in a dark world–open our eyes to the wonders and beauty that are very much prevalent today. Amen.