Monday, August 23, 2010

Personal Agenda

Humanity often has a very isolated idea of justice.  It involves the restoration of rights and others getting what they deserve.  It usually manifests in the proclamation that I should get what I deserve (restoration) and you should get what you deserve (death).  My young children can testify to this!  (And all mothers say “Amen!”)  They always know how to articulate their unsatisfied rights and who should get the spanking!  I do not recall that justice has ever been radically served in my household by the innocent party offering to take the punishment for the guilty party.  If this has ever happened in your household, consider yourself wholly blessed!  You have ascended closer to Heaven!
Justice, in our thinking, is served best by each member getting their due.  We are excellent supporters of the “eye for eye” and “tooth for tooth” clause in Exodus… .as long as we are not the guilty party!  Very unconscious of our ways, we are ardent supporters of Lamech.  If another life bruises me, they will also bleed!  To us, it is only just and fair that another life should be equally relegated to the level of shame and loss that our own life now bears after we have been injured and victimized.  The injustice should be brought to justice.  This way of thinking is not entirely wrong…
Sadly, however, we are caught in a great dillemna.  If every Human heart demands a life for a life… .if each individual demands payment for his or her loss… .then everyone is woefully indebted to pay up.  
And there you have it: Arms extended with open hands and other arms thrown into the air, hurling angry fists.  “Give me justice!” is the cry - a great disguise for “Give me your life!”.  When justice is the premise for Lamech’s personal, individual agenda, there is a dangerously legal right to bruise, bleed and take a life.  These agendas are not so trustworthy.  They are frightening and very incomplete in their perspectives.  They are dangerously sharp and they come with signed papers.  
It would make a great painting some day.  A work of art littered with dozens of angry faces; people holding legal documents and swords.  And no one in the crowd seems to realize that, yes, perhaps they will get their justice - the life of the guy that bruised them may get his due - but their life is written on someone else’s paper also.  Their life is demanded as well. They linger dangerously at the end of a neighbor’s sword…

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