It seems the world is full of anger these days. Someone accidentally cuts another driver off in traffic and the end result lands the cutoff driver in a court room for attempted murder. Kids are posting videos of classmates fighting on social media and the video is watched hundreds if not thousands of times for entertainment. Others are choosing to end their life as a better alternative to whatever struggles they are facing. I often find myself in tears watching or reading the news as my heart hurts for a world of people who are so lost. When did anger overtake our culture?
This question has actually been on my heart for several months. What has happened to humanity? Why do we feel the need to retaliate and serve justice to those who offend us? Then, as I was disciplining my two younger children, it dawned on me that I am part of the problem. My youngest daughter is tiny, not only petite, but tiny. She is 18 months old, and we are still dressing her in 9 month old clothing. Recently, we purchased life insurance on all three of our children and the insurance agency almost didn’t cover her because of her size. Had she not been to the doctor only weeks before and given a clean bill of health, her policy would have been denied. However, you know the saying “dynamite comes in small packages.” This fits her personality.
Our three year old towers above her peers. She ranks on the top of the charts for her height, and those who do not know any different assume she is much older than she actually is. She also has the sweetest heart I have ever seen. She loves everyone. Her little sister sees this as a weakness and for what sometimes seems as no reason at all will scratch, hit and pull my three year old’s hair. After trying time out, a quick swat on the diaper, a swat on the hand and taking away toys, my husband and I sat the two together and told our three year old to pull the little one’s hair back. Her tearful eyes widened, and she looked at her little sister holding a handful of her hair. She looked back at her daddy in questioning disbelief. My husband said again, “Go ahead sweetie. Pull it back. She’s not going to learn unless you teach her the lesson.” She looked back at her sister, back at her daddy and started crying again. She whispered, “I can’t Daddy. I just can’t.” She then hugged her sister and ran to her room. Our three year old ended up teaching us the lesson. We were teaching retaliation as the proper response to an unacceptable behavior. Which, retaliation too is an unacceptable behavior. As parents we don’t want our children to be the weaker child or the one that is getting picked on or bullied. We teach them to stand up for themselves, hit them back, provide the justice we feel the bully deserves. Is this Christlike?
We’ve all heard (and most of us said), “An eye for an eye!” The origins are found in the Old Testament. But Christ’s death and resurrection established a New Testament with His followers. 1 Peter 3:8-9 says, “Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and He will grant you His blessing.” In fact, our perfect example is Christ Himself. As 2 Peter 2:23 states, “He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left His case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly.”
Oh how better the world would be if we followed His lead when we felt belittled or insulted. If only we swallowed our pride and left revenge in the “hands of God, who always judges fairly.” Would the senseless killings subdue? If all of us who call ourselves Christians refrained from hurling insults and worked to keep a tender heart, the end result would prove less violence. After all, isn’t that what God has called you to do?