Everyone has heard by now about the killing of the British soldier, Lee Rigby, this week in London. One of the killers, Michael Adebolajo, said afterward as he stood with bloody hands holding his instruments of death:
“We swear by almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you until you leave us alone. . .The only reasons we killed this man. . .is because Muslims are dying daily. . .This British soldier is an eye for an eye, a tooth for tooth.”
Many are angry at all Muslims because of this horrible, tragic, event.
I am not angry today at all Muslims.
I am saddened.
And I think Jesus is too.
I think he weeps over the wars and killings and murders – all the senseless violence – done by. . .humans. ANY humans.
Jesus had something to say about an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth (The Injeel, The Good News of Matthew, chapter 5, verses 38-48):
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
I want to close this post with a simple prayer from my heart:
“Father in Heaven, I am heartbroken and sickened by this event in London on Wednesday. I pray for the family and friends of the victim that was murdered that day. Please comfort them in this time of confusion and grief and perhaps deep, deep anger. You know what it is like to lose someone you love so immensely. Let them see and experience Jesus and his love for them in this time.
I also pray for those who murdered this man. I ask that you bring them to proper justice but also to a place of sincere repentance for their horrible actions. I ask that they seek Your forgiveness for what they have done. You hate what they have done but you love them.
Father in Heaven, please forgive these men. But not just them. Forgive us – all of us. We – all of humanity – are guilty before You of so much violence and hatred for our fellow human beings. We are all guilty of so much injustice. We know it offends Your holiness and breaks Your heart.
Let us see the tears of Jesus.
Let us abandon revenge.
Let us love our enemies.
In Jesus’ name I pray,