Have you been tempted to retaliate against someone who walked physically close to you without wearing a mask correctly? When people fail to cooperate with the common good — it doesn’t hurt only those individuals who refuse to comply. Consequences are suffered by the whole community. The Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Rome:
“…so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
… Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
It may be tempting to retaliate when we believe people are hurting us. Yet Christians have learned that retaliation lowers us to the level of those we decide deserve it. When we can choose the better path — and teach that path beyond our own generation — there can be hope for a better future.
The Lyrics to “One Tin Soldier” outline a story of valley people warring with their mountain partners, killing them for an imagined treasure which turned out not to be the gold wealth they had imagined. The lyrics claim that the valley people: “won their just reward.” In the end: “… they stood beside the treasure … dark and red. Turned the stone and looked beneath it: ‘Peace on Earth’ was all it said.”
The Chorus concludes:
“Go ahead and hate your neighbor, Go ahead and cheat a friend.
Do it in the name of Heaven, you can justify it in the end.
There won’t be any trumpets blowin’ – Come the judgement day.
On the bloody mornin’ after: One tin soldier rides away!
It is our hope that striving to “live peaceably” (as the apostle Paul urged) will overpower the temptation to retaliate. May God grant us the ability to transcend our instincts and become more and more like God wants us to be.
Pastor Mike Krewson