By NEMS Daily Journal
Terrible weeks like this one leave most people perplexed and arguably just as many angry. Countless people want in some way to get rid of all the bad feelings they’ve held and allowed to build up since the first of the bad news broke: bombs exploding near the finish of the Boston Marathon, an event of international good will where people celebrate competition but walk away as friends and celebrants of signal individual accomplishments.
Today, three are dead, about 180 are recovering from wounds inflicted by high-velocity bomb debris, and Boston remains in a state of emotional and spiritual recovery.
Then came poisoned letters sent to high government officials. The suspect accused is from Corinth and is well-known in Tupelo and elsewhere as an Elvis Presley impersonator.
It’s been hard to hear anyone mentioning a powerful scriptural prescriptive for either situation in the din of discussion, condemnation and old-fashion cussing. All those may seem better than anything else, but history suggests that at some point forgiveness enters the picture.
The words are from Jesus, the founder of Christianity, and they may be harder to swallow than any other ultimately wise thing he said, as quoted in the New Testament:
“But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. Do to others as you would have them do to you.
“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.” (NRSV)
The natural first impulse is to say, “Yes, but …” Jesus probably would stop anyone who started and remind them, “This is the way I see it.”
Sooner or later most people come to their senses and see it from the Jesus perspective.
Human systems of justice will work their way into this situation in good time.
Jesus was talking about a situation both in time and beyond, to make this life better and to usher all who follow his way into a life most call eternal.
“The measure you give,” he said, “will be the measure you get back.”