“Do not repay evil with evil”

“Anger is a brief madness.”

“Manliness consists not in bluff, bravado or loneliness. It consists in daring to do the right thing and facing consequences whether it is in matters social, political or other. It consists in deeds not words.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

(a new crop of mockingbirds waiting to hatch / Julie Cook / 2015

Ours is an ever increasing culture of anger.
Where anger begets violence.
While in turn, anger and violence are answered by the lack of personal responsibility.

Turn on the news, read a newspaper, witness it first hand. . .
Road rage as the result from the slight of a thoughtless driver. . .
Rage and violence at the workplace. . .
Unmitigated violence in our schools. . .
Violent eruptions at the mall, the movie theaters, a parking lot. . .
Multiplied by the madness that ensues from the perceived sense of the witnessed injustice. . .
all of which spiral downward into death, murder and pure chaos.

The victims of arrests, or near arrests, or searches gone bad,
which in turn cast entire cities into the descent and abyss of the madness of anarchy.
Communities angry over injustices, lose sight of the issues at hand when mob mentality masks frustration, sadness, disbelief with an ill conceived blanketed notion
to the “right” to loot, steal, destroy, hurt, kill.
With everyone having lost sight of one original death,
which has only begotten an ad infinite chain of violent acts and deaths.

Yet no one wants to address reasons why.
No one wants to take responsibility.
No one really wants the truth.
Everyone prefers pointing fingers.

Everyone shouts. . .
“It’s their fault. . .”
“NO, it’s their fault. . .”
“It’s his fault. . .”
“NO it’s her fault. . .”
“It’s the police’s fault”
“It’s the poor people’s fault”
“It’s the rich people’s fault”
It’s the black people’s fault”
“NO, it’s the white people’s fault”
“It’s the Latino’s fault”
“NO it’s the Asian’s fault”
“It’s the immigrants fault”
“It’s the Government’s fault”
On and on and on it goes. . .

Anger, morphed into violence will only beget more anger and more violence.

All actions, good or bad have consequences, good or bad.
Responsibility must exist for all actions, good and bad. . .otherwise mob rule and anarchy are allowed to fester, breed, and grow.

Yet no one wants to take responsibility for wrongs. . .
it’s wrong to kill
it’s wrong to steal
it’s wrong to beat
it’s wrong to hate
it’s wrong to hit
it’s wrong to loot
it’s wrong to burn
it’s wrong to hurt
and therefore the wrongs are simply left to multiply. . .

Maybe, it’s just everyone’s fault.
Or maybe, it’s the fault of ignorance, prejudice, skepticism, and an inward hatred. . .
Or maybe, just maybe, it’s the fault of a lack of faith in our hearts in the Resurrection of Jesus the Christ, the begotten Son of God and the power in that Resurrection. . .

“Do Not Repay Evil With Evil”
Do not raise your hand to strike.
Do not open your mouth in anger, but remain still.
How can the one who wants to do evil things against you hurt you?
It does not hurt you: it hurts the other person.
Suffering injustice does not hurt the Christian, but doing injustice does.
Indeed, evil can do only one thing to you, namely make you also become evil.
If it does, then it wins.
Therefore, do not repay evil with evil.
If you do, you will not hurt the other person; you will hurt yourself.
You are not in danger when evil happens to you,
but the person who does you wrong is in danger and will suffer from it,
if you do not offer help.
Therefore, for the sake of the other person and your responsibility for that person—
do not repay evil with evil. . .
How does that happen?
Not by our giving nourishment to the other person’s evil,
hate to the other person’s hate,
but by letting evil strike out into empty space and find nothing
that can inflame it.
How can we overcome evil?
By our forgiving it endlessly.
How does that happen?
By seeing enemies as they really are: as people for whom
Christ Died, as people Christ loves.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer
I Want To Live These Days With You
A year of Daily Devotions
Reading for May 11
taken from Illegale Theologenausbildung: Finkenwalde 1935-1940

9 comments on ““Do not repay evil with evil”

  1. SwittersB says:

    Excellent…everyone should read Dietrich Bonhoeffer and understand how a society devolves into chaos and fascism. The why’s, the subsurface why’s, must be faced. It is no longer slavery, capitalism or white privilege. The family unit’s demise and self serving manipulators of grief for power must be challenged by those that are trapped in this spin cycle.

    • Thank you so much your words of wisdom.
      I read them to my aunt whose response was simply WOW—-the key being the demise of the traditional family in all the communities. . . black, white, you name it—-with no one thinking there’s a need for a Savior —

  2. Melissa says:

    Great thoughts Julie

  3. Tricia says:

    Excellent post Julie!

  4. Lisa says:

    Wonderful. I needed to hear that.

  5. Lynda says:

    This is so thought-provoking and excellent. The last couple of lines of Bonhoeffer’s quote really resonated with me as I believe they are key to living as Christ would have us live:
    “By seeing enemies as they really are: as people for whom
    Christ Died, as people Christ loves.”

  6. Wow, yet another stellar post so full of wisdom and truth! I believe that it’s the media and movies and video games that are fueling the firest to all the increase in violence and anger that we’re seeing. I always love what you and Bonhoeffer have to say about anything. Great post my friend. Hugs, N 🙂 ❤

  7. lljostes says:

    Thank you for this timely post, Julie. I’m teaching a class for parents this Sunday on the Fifth (Sixth) Commandment: Thou Shalt Not Kill. I am going to use this reflection by Bonhoeffer. Yes…how can we model for our children love instead of hate, peace instead of strife, helping instead of hurting? Only by the Spirit of the Living God! Thanks again! Hugs ~ Laura

    • That’s perfect Laura—some will know that Bonhoeffer actually agreed to be a part of the assassination attempt on Hitler, which is a direct contradiction of his belief in the sacredness of all life, even of those who are immersed in deep destructive sin—he wrestled deeply with this choice but believed in the long run, many more lives would be spared if Hitler was indeed destroyed as his evil surpassed such that the world had ever known—this is why Bonhoeffer was imprisoned and why Hitler gave the direct orders to have him hanged—-
      his is quite the story—-

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