Good. Better. Best.

2023년 2월 19일

Good. Better. Best.

< Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time >

 earthquake destroyed buildings and killed thousands of people in Turkey and Syria. The President of Syria called for the arrest of the architects and builders of those collapsed buildings. What would be the proper punishment for those people? If their actions can be proven to have caused weak construction, shouldn’t the builders be put to death? “Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, and life for a life” is one of the oldest laws of human civilization. Long before our Bible was written, ancient Babylon’s King Hammurabi set out a code of law that still influences most courts even though the Code is 4,000 years old. What most people don’t realize is that Hammurabi’s Code is actually merciful, because it limits the strong urge for revenge. If someone causes a person to lose an eye, that doesn’t give the injured party the right to kill the guilty party, much less kill their family, or wage war on their country. You take an eye? You lose an eye. You take a tooth, you lose a tooth. One life for one life. Nothing more.

So Hammurabi’s Code was good, but the Bible made it better because it treated slaves and free people equally. After all, Jews were once slaves in Egypt. Then along comes Jesus who gives us the best way. Love your enemy. Pray for those who make your life miserable. This isn’t to ignore your pain or embarrassment, much less to help your enemy, but to help YOU. A grudge is a poison we drink hoping it will kill our enemy. But it only hurts us. It eats away at us and can actually destroy our souls. So Jesus commands us to get rid of the poison by loving those who wronged you. By human standards this isn’t just difficult, it’s impossible. If, in all fairness, you cannot bring yourself to forgive someone, then pray to Jesus to forgive them for you. Do not give revenge a chance to take hold in your heart. Remember: you are a precious child of God.