Thursday, June 29, 2006

Jesus in My Enemy

This morning's post is about torture, ladies. I don't often attempt political posts - one, because I am never sure I am as well-versed in a subject as I need to be to open myself up to flaming - and two, because this is first and foremost a mommy blog. I welcome open and vigorous discussion on this topic, but flaming will be deleted.

But this morning I was listening to yet another segment on NPR about our current policy of torturing prisoners-of-war. NPR has done a fairly balanced job of presenting both sides of the argument, but it breaks my heart that my country has stooped to this. I understand the need for interrogation. I understand the need to take prisoners. But torturing them in the name of "greater good" is unconscionable. Torture is vengeance, and God is pretty clear on who has the right to exact vengeance.

Tip: it ain't us.

This is Romans 12:18-20:

18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:
"If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head."

Really, it doesn't get much clearer than that. The fact that the US government has kidnapped the small children (ages 7 and 9)of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind behind the Sept. 11 attacks, and is threatening to harm them as leverage to get their father to talk should stop us all in our tracks. This is wrong.

This is not how we, as Christians, are called to behave. And the fact that we ourselves are not actively torturing people does not excuse us. Our complacency has gotten us to this point. We have given the people in power carte blanche to do whatever they deem necessary to "protect" us. And they have taken that power and gone too far.

Just because our enemy does not believe in the same God that we believe in does not make him any less of a child of that God. If we believe, as most of us (Christians, that is) profess to, that God is the one creator, then that means He created Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his cronies, too. That means that we are called to treat him with love, even though we despise his actions and his life.

Jesus addresses this in Matthew 25:

34 "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

37 "Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

40 "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

41 "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'

44 "They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'

45 "He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'

46 "Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

Look closely at those last three verses. Whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.

What are we doing in the name of justice for our Lord, and are you a part of it, by your complacency?


jessica said...

Like you, I'm hesitant to "talk politics" (I think you did a fine job, by the way). I've also been listening to these stories on NPR. From their reporting on the issue, I can't help but feel that "we're" doing something wrong (or at least going about it in the wrong way). This topic always reminds me of that great part in "Fiddler on the Roof" when a villager says "An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth" and Tevye dryly responds "Very good. That way the whole world will be blind and toothless."

I'm not sure what the solution is, but I for one sure don't want to be blind and toothless! And as you said with those verses, Jesus gave us a higher law, to love one another and to treat them as we would like to be treated (and in doing so, how we in effect treat Christ himself). Doesn't get much clear than that, huh?

BlueEyedRambler said...

I appreciate all of your comments, and I think you make some very valid points. The American government is currently in a great state of hypocrisy and I agree that it is incumbant on each individual to do something if they believe wrong is being done.

As my mom used to say to me, if you're seeing someone do something wrong, but you're doing nothing to stop them, than you're as guilty of wrongdoing as the one who's actually doing it. That's a belief I hold very dear.

My question, then, is all of your words are well-put and your heart's in the right place. But what would you propose to do to stop the injustices?

For "they" say, words without actions are just that...words. Where would you go from here?

Judy said...


Goslyn said...

You're right, BlueEyed, I should be DOING something rather than just talking about it. Write my Congressman? I don't know.

But I'll keep working on it. What do you propose?