Peace comes to the Christian when we allow the Holy Spirit to transform our innate desire for judgment and retribution into a Spirit-driven act of forgiveness. As we forgive we are released from the bondage of rage that threatens our hearts and keeps us tied to past actions and injuries. Reflect this midweek day on Jesus’ words from the Sermon on the Mount:
Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:1-5)
The horror visited on YWAM and New Life that has broken the peace of our Advent causes us ask ourselves whether or not we can forgive the young man who brought the violence to life. The Lord calls us to repent of our desire to judge others while avoiding our own judgement. As Glen Stassen eloquently posits, “Grace teaches peacemaking, not putting all the blame on others and building up hostility against them but acknowledging our own contribution to the problem.” It can be difficult for us to associate ourselves with the violent but we can find in our lives many opportunities to put this ideal into practice. Why not now?