No more harm
June 12, 2014
The news has been full of stories of deadly harm: stories in which anger, misogyny, white supremacy, hatred, and fear (and many other etceteras) have played huge roles. And people have died.
We must act. We must take back our peace. We must protect those we love from harm. And we must prevent those who would harm from making those awful choices.
We are not helpless.
All of those negative thoughts and character traits are not new. You can find them in the Bible. The Apostle Paul said, “the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
But he also offers a solution: “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” (Gal 5:19-22) Paul was convinced that all of those wretched sins, including deadly harm, could be prevented and even undone, through confronting them with the power of the fruit of the Spirit.
Now, before you imagine that joy or meekness have no power before someone wielding a shotgun, consider this story from the Bible. Jesus had just reprimanded the crowd with his references to Elijah and Elisha. Luke, chapter 4 relates that “all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, and rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong. But he passing through the midst of them went his way.”
Their intent for him was deadly harm. But this meek, peaceful, longsuffering and gentle man, simply walked through them. And he said to us, “He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do.” (John 14:12) Jesus intended for us to be as safe – and as harmless – as he.
We need to know that we can be temperate or loving or faithful. And not only under normal circumstances, but even in the face of violence, just as Jesus was. The cure to any awful situation is living those qualities on a consistent basis, and with authority, recognizing their saving power.
Again, the Apostle Paul wrote, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35, 37-39)
Let us be actively expressing the fruit of the Spirit. Let us confront evil thoughts and actions with good thoughts and actions. Let us overturn the verdict of helplessness with the authority of the Christ.
It is the only thing that will never fail.
Melissa Hayden is a Christian Science practitioner in Salem, OR. You can find more information and additional articles at this link. If you like what you’re reading, click the “add me” button.