Three weeks ago, another horrific school shooting took place in Parkland, Florida, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Fourteen kids and three adults were killed in this shooting. Many others were physically wounded. All are hurting mentally, emotionally, spiritually. This is our take at putting down some of our thoughts in the wake of yet another mass shooting in the United States. This will be a multi-post blog, so sit tight. But, with this first post, we start with some scripture to help you know where we’re coming from.
The apostle Paul on revenge and responding to your enemy:
"Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. 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.’
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
James, the brother of Jesus, on “thoughts and prayers” without action:
“For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment. What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but does not have works? Can that faith save them? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, it it does not have works, is dead.” (James 2:13-17)
Jesus, the one Christians call Lord and Saviour, on responding to violence, persecution, and seeking vengeance:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let them have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you. You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father who is in heaven.”
“Put your sword back in its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword.”
(Matthew 26:52 and similarly in John 18:11)
And again, this time about money:
“No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”
(Luke 16:13 & Matthew 6:24)
The prophets Micah and Isaiah, on what God’s kingdom looks like:
“‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the temple of the God of Jacob.
He will teach us his ways,
so that we may walk in his paths.’
The law will go out from Zion,
the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
He will judge between many peoples
and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide.
They will beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
nor will they train for war anymore.”
(Micah 4:2-3 & Isaiah 2:3-4)
(Other passages for further reading that shed light on this: 1 Peter 2, Micah 6:8, Romans 2:6-8, Romans 12, Ephesians 4, Philippians 2, Matthew 5-7)