How many vigilante movies have been made since the medium of film was invented? I don’t have a clue, but I do know this: as a general rule I like them! I love it when someone stands up for someone innocent who was hurt or killed and makes someone pay for it. I think we all cheer for such things to some degree or another.
Let’s face it: there’s a ton of anger out there on the streets and in the cities and on farms across America, and for that matter, the world. Anger about many things. Some of them are very significant, others are clearly not, yet drop by drop they add up to make us full of rage and we lash out. How much good has that really ever done? Has a vigilante who killed a rapist or murderer stopped rape entirely? Did it mean no more murderers were ever going to be committed? Silly question, right? Vigilantism never has been, and never will be, the answer for the rage inside of us.
So, what do we do with our anger? Let’s look to Jesus as he speaks from the cross about the mob that was screaming for his death and that was at that very moment, literally killing him: (Luke 23:34) – Father, forgive them – they do not know what they are doing. Even as Jesus looked into the blood-lusting, eager for death crowd, he didn’t see the as murderers. He saw them as victims of their own ignorance. He was right – they didn’t know what they were doing or they never would have done it.
When you think about it, do any of us really know what we’re doing? We move swiftly from being born to dying. We can’t figure out the answers about relationships, aging or health. We can’t get along with ourselves – let alone with others. Even Paul, in Romans 7 said: I do not understand what I do.
Of course, just because we don’t understand means that it’s okay or that it justifies mean behavior. What will help, as Max Lucado said, is “sympathetic understanding”.
What does that look like? Like lighting a candle on the darkest night, extending a hand to another soul who is as confused about life as I am myself. When we understand that none of us really know what we’re doing we can be more compassionate and gracious toward those who hurt us in one way or another. They wouldn’t do it if they really understood what they are doing and how they’ll be accountable for it someday.
Instead of punching someone, we are to help out and keep our hands extended in a giving posture rather than a fist. We are to remember that they, like we, don’t understand what we’re doing, and we respond like Jesus did.
PRAYER: Lord, we are so blind and confused. Help us to remember that those who hurt us, intentionally or unintentionally, don’t know what they are doing. Help us to have this part of the mind of Christ! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>