The recent assassination of Lebanon's President-elect Bashir Gemayel and the subsequent senseless killing of hundreds of unarmed Palestinian refugees have stirred much bitterness, even feelings of vengeance.
The Bible, a wellspring of wisdom, gives us this timely instruction: ''Avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.'' n1
n1 Romans 12:19.
And in an article entitled ''Love Your Enemies,'' the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, writes, ''If you have been badly wronged, forgive and forget: God will recompense this wrong, and punish, more severely than you could, him who has striven to injure you.'' n2
n2 Miscellaneous Writings, p. 12.
Is it possible to truly forgive and to leave the disposal of justice to God? Doing so doesn't exclude the taking of wise human steps to resolve conflict. On the contrary, we can expect our understanding faith in divine law to help impel right action on the part of government leaders.
Cultivating a trust in God, divine Principle, requires that we distinguish between what appears to be going on and what's really happening, what the actual facts of God and His creation are. It would appear in the midst of conflict that man is a helpless victim or a wicked perpetrator - and that perpetrators sometimes escape punishment. But violence and injustice express a mortal, erring view of things because they would deny the supremacy of God's perfect government.
As the Bible teaches, God is Spirit, all-knowing, all-seeing good. His wisdom is flawless; His government is pure. The power of Spirit, enforcing divine statutes, cannot be overturned. Then, whatever motive or action would contradict divine law, oppose the divine will and nature, has, in the truest sense, neither authority nor reality and must, at some point, punish itself. It cannot escape or hide from the omnipresence of divine Principle.
Man, as we also learn from the Bible, is actually God's offspring and dwells exclusively under His government. Man is the spiritual image of divine Love, reflecting the nature of Deity. Through the exercise of spiritual sense, transcending what appears so vivid to the material senses, we can begin to discern man's uninvaded harmony and sinlessness. We can see beyond the temporal picture of victimized or wicked mortals to the true concept of man as upright and indestructible. This is not to ignore evil but to play an active role in eliminating it. Our prayerful realization of God's infiniteness, and of man's true status as His image, must help in bringing to light more of the harmony of God's creation. Wasn't this understanding the basis of Christ Jesus' marvelous works?
We err when believing that man is a self-evolved mortal, capable of evil as well as good. Then we fall into the trap of thinking that we, as mortals, have to straighten out the ''other guy.'' We've lost sight of the one divine, omnipotent Ego and its expression, man, and have begun worshiping personal minds or egos.
Jesus showed us by his example how to yield to the government of the one Mind , God. When a crowd came to take him away to be crucified, one of Jesus' disciples reacted violently. Perhaps thinking of himself as a personal ego needing to give God a hand in establishing justice, he cut off the ear of the high priest's servant. The master Christian swiftly denounced the vengeance exhibited by his disciple and restored the servant's ear. n3
n3 See Matthew 26:51, 52 and Luke 22:50, 51.
Jesus taught: ''Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.'' n4
n4 Matthew 5:43, 44.
Are we heeding this message? Each of us can forgive and even bless the ''enemy'' brought to our mental doorstep by the media. Through prayer, we can help defuse the mortal tendency to endlessly repay violence with violence.
Our starting point is with God - we honor Him by discerning the true nature of His creation and His righteous government of it. Then we have a basis for seeing, and helping bring to light, our fellowman's true being as His child. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? Genesis 18:25