Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Word for Wednesday, January 13

Continuing in Matthew, exploring the gun question. Actually, I think I can see already that it isn't going to be a "gun" question, specifically, at all (firearms having been unknown in the first century AD). I think it will have to be generalized to "weapons," at least. I'm hoping not to have to concern myself with whether it's OK if everybody's kung-fu fighting, as that bad 70s song used to sing. Anyway, chapter 5, starting with verse 38 to chapter's end, Jesus speaking:
"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 him who is evil; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone wants to sue you, and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. And whoever shall force you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to 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 in order that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise upon the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax-gatherers do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect."
Not every verse in this passage relates directly to the question I'm looking at here; however, for context and flow and completeness, and mostly just because I'm reluctant to cut my Lord off when He's speaking, I've included all. And I'll have to say: so far, it's not looking good for any potential career change from "optical engineer / physicist" to "gunslinger" for me. But, then, the search has only begun; perhaps I'll find something to the contrary in Wyatt Earp's Epistle to the Tombstonians.

Today's passage doesn't call for a lot of comment from me; it seems very straightforward, and very difficult. It raises even more questions with me: OK, fighting back isn't an option; is it permissible even to run away? What does love for my enemies look like? (That's something that's been on my mind recently, what with "Tom" the Troll making some kind of object lesson of himself.) Surely it does not require the believer to render cooperation in an evil enterprise, simply because the malefactor demands it ... does it?

Well, you know, I'm thinking that this is going to end up being one of those "balance of Scripture" deals. But so far, the scriptures are pretty one-sided -- and not tilting toward the side my "common sense" wants. Let's continue next week.

As always, here is where to click for more Words for Wednesday.


Anonymous said...

You want to be a gunslinger??? LOL You must have watched too many westerns as a kid!

And just so this topic doesn't get completely blown out of proportion, I'll let you rest easy on the running away thing: Paul did it, so you can, too. Just find yourself a man-sized basket. (2 Cor 11:33)

DPirate said...

This passage, to me, is again just another way of stating the golden rule.