Thursday, October 12, 2006

If the Amish are not entitled to revenge, then who is?

If the Amish of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania are not entitled to revenge then who is? It was one of the most despicable crimes imaginable. The victims were apparently selected simply because they were the most defenseless and vulnerable people the killer could think of – no phone or police nearby. Ten young girls were bound and then shot execution style.

Based the way many humans have reacted to such atrocities throughout history one could imagine the Amish demanding revenge and hating the family and descendents of the killer and people who shared his religion or ethnicity for generations. Instead, the Amish asked for nothing. When asked what people who wanted to help could do the Amish suggested that people could pray for them. When given money to help with the medical care of the injured and to pay funeral expenses the Amish gave some of it to the killer’s family. After all, they were hurting also

Every Christian knows that Jesus called on them to respond to hate with love. When slapped on one cheek turn the other. When people who consider themselves Christian demand revenge for wrongs done to them are asked if they are responding as a Christian should they sometimes say, "If I am not entitled to revenge, then who is?" I can imagine the Amish responding, "Indeed, who is?"

Imagine if the United States had reacted like the Amish to the tragedy of 9/11? Instead we have 3000 additional American dead in Iraq and who knows how many Iraqi deaths – the estimates range between 40,000 and 600,000. An eye for an eye and the whole world is blind.

6 comments:

tacky said...

The Amish response is beautiful. The community should be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. The tragedy has shown the way for all to emulate. The media and talking heads should keep re-telling the story of how this community of families has responded to violence ( the very worst way of losing their children). The 13 year old who offered herself first in order to try and save the others needs to be especially honored.

Anonymous said...

Indeed no one has the right to exact revenge, but anyone that knows scripture knows that God did give government that right. Therein lies the difference
between the situation with the Amish and that of our Federal government dealing with terrorists. The Amish do judge, condemn and punish those
within their faith for the same reason.

Don't get me wrong. We should never have gone to Iraq; we had no
business telling anyone what weapons they can and can not have (and we
are about to make the same mistake with North Korea). We had an excuse
when they first broke the terms of their suit for peace, but we let it go
almost from day one. None of this changes the fact that indeed
governments are provided the right punish offenders and protect
citizenry.

Dave Barrett said...

anonymous,
I agree that people and governments have the right to defend themselves but what does revenge have to do with protecting anyone?

Anonymous said...

The answer to your question is justice, which is God's and granted to God ordained governors (because, 'vengeance is mine...'). Justice delayed...' 'Justice denied...' I guess what I am saying is that governments may be the rod of revenge, but the motivator should be justice. The fear of which protects all.

Whether for our good or evil, God ordained...kind sad to think we deserve so much of what we get, regardless of our politics, beliefs or geography.

Dave Barrett said...

anonymous,
You seem to have shifted the discussion from revenge to justice. Yes, governments are in the business of dispensing justice, but should not be engaging in revenge. Do you think that the US government's response to 9/11 has been to dispense justice?

different anon said...

Where in the Bible does God give governments the right to exact revenge? When God says "Vengeance is Mine", doesn't that mean that vengeance is the right of God? Where does it say anything about earthly governers? I just looked up "Justice delayed is justice denied" on google, and it's not from the Bible, but from a 19th century British politician.

I also am not so sure that God has ordained our earthly governers. There are so many horrible politicians and government leaders all around the world, I just can't believe that they are all there as a result of God's ordination. That sounds like a very fatalistic attitude.