A Persistent Affliction

In the recent events in Charlottesville, and in others preceding it, we continue to witness a ready predisposition in our species to do violence to those who are afflicted with the lack of good sense to agree with us. I suppose it traces clear back to the earliest stories of the family human.

Cain perceived that his brother was more Abel to please God and that realization did not sit well with him. Jacob and Esau had a similar rift but theirs did not result in fratricide, mainly owing to the fact that Jacob got out of Dodge while Esau was waiting to convert motive and means into opportunity. When Jacob returned a few decades later, he had the good sense to send a generous gesture of good will on ahead of him. Although the brothers patched things up well enough, ensuing generations from the lineage of Isaac and Ishmael haven’t done so well. It’s easy enough to blame one side more than the other but there’s probably enough to go around. And it’s spilled over into the area of beliefs as well.

Although they claim to follow the Prince of Peace, it seems a good many of the philosophical lineage of the Carpenter prefer a literal application of his statement that he came to bring war, not peace. Not content with fighting the heathen in ways that the Messiah never intended, we have become rather well versed in fighting other believers as well. Sometimes in the city park and sometimes on a global scale. It seems that over the centuries our practice has made us quite adept at never allowing the Lord’s teaching on loving our enemies to interfere with our lust for carnal warfare. No sirree, when it comes to such matters as government, territory and dominion, we truly become nondiscriminatory; we are just as satisfied to drop bombs on other Christians as we are to fire missiles at pagans and heretics.

And should self-propelled missiles be a bit too hard to come by, we’ll make do for now with rocks and clubs. Something satisfyingly primitive about that, although the occasional can of pepper spray can be right handy as well.

People of violence are never at much of a lack for opportunity. Apparently nothing is quite as satisfying to one hater as trying to bash in the skull of another hater. Whether it’s a soccer game or a puddle of oil, we seem to have little trouble getting right nasty about having our way with things. Somewhere right near the bottom of the matter is that we cherish power and control. And the more persuaded we are about the moral superiority of our position, the more willing we are to use immoral means to see it secured.

Well, I suppose it’s at least as easy to ignore “Be completely humble and gentle” as it is to disregard “Return good for evil, blessing for cursing.” Easy, of course, unless we actually are trying to please Jesus and not ourselves. I guess either way, we certainly fulfill his prophecy that “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

H. Arnett

About Doc Arnett

Native of southwestern Kentucky currently living in Ark City, Kansas, with my wife of twenty-nine years, Randa. We have, between us, eight children and twenty-eight grandkids. We enjoy singing, worship, remodeling and travel.
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