“You have heard that it was said to the men of old, ‘You shall not kill; and whoever kills shall be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be liable to the hell of fire.” (Mt 5: 21-22)
It is understandable that we feel shock and dismay, when we hear about certain violent crimes of others, particularly in the highly-publicized cases. But in the passages quoted above, our Lord offers us a sobering reminder, as to how we ourselves might share, in “small” ways, in the responsibility for certain forms of violence against one another, even perhaps while we’re expressing shock and dismay about the crimes of others, – in the very ways we engage in arguments with one another, online and elsewhere.
Today let me take down a notch my demands of others, and re-focus on my own behavior, taking extra care not to look, or speak, or act unto others in my vicinity, in my own house, in a death-bringing manner. Because that is something I can actually change. Let me seek to understand, rather than to be understood; to give, rather than to receive; to affirm and encourage, rather than to control or bend to my way. Let me listen a bit more, and be a bit more grateful for people and things as they are, rather than bemoan what they are not, according to what I would wish them to be. Lord, help us love one another, and ourselves, as You love us, – as we are. Amen! (Happy Tuesday! Watch my all-NEW talk, on the symbolism & practical implications of the much-discussed Communion-spoon, here: https://vimeo.com/426620725?fbclid=IwAR37NgK0gwDIwHZW3l-UEVxQjaF8r32y8Li_a03RDRItHRXOd-mnKRfm8YU.)