An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth was a huge improvement in justice for the time. Prior to its acceptance a person might feel they were entitled to two eyes and a tooth, a few lives and maybe a couple of young maidens or more if he were wronged.
Hammurabi's Code, which came from an ancient Sumerian world, a region we now call Iraq, strove to be a giant step towards justice. Jewish history then brought us the concept of," An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth", which is about equality and fairness in justice; not the vengeance or revenge (or preemptive strike) so many from our present time would like to equate it.
If you are a Christian you believe that Christ took this further to subjugate justice to the concepts of love, forgiveness and mercy, as is expressed throughout the New Testament.
This is why Christians should be against:
Cruel and unusual punishment,
The death penalty,
(Jesus Christ suffered all of the above and He offered Prayers, Mercy and Forgiveness to all involved. If the object of being Christian is to strive to be Christ-like, as much is humanly possible for our lowly state, then it would seem necessary that we should not go without noticing the examples of His Passion.)
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Eplains His Theory On Nonviolence
The weapons industry,
Violent Reactionary ‘solutions’,
And unjust wars, (as if there were such a thing as a just war)
to name just a few.
"NO TO WAR"! War is not always inevitable. It is always a defeat for humanity. International law, honest dialogue, solidarity between States, the noble exercise of diplomacy: these are methods worthy of individuals and nations in resolving their differences. I say this as I think of those who still place their trust in nuclear weapons and of the all-too-numerous conflicts which continue to hold hostage our brothers and sisters in humanity. At Christmas, Bethlehem reminded us of the unresolved crisis in the Middle East, where two peoples, Israeli and Palestinian, are called to live side-by-side, equally free and sovereign, in mutual respect. Without needing to repeat what I said to you last year on this occasion, I will simply add today, faced with the constant degeneration of the crisis in the Middle East, that the solution will never be imposed by recourse to terrorism or armed conflict, as if military victories could be the solution. And what are we to say of the threat of a war which could strike the people of Iraq, the land of the Prophets, a people already sorely tried by more than twelve years of embargo? War is never just another means that one can choose to employ for settling differences between nations. As the Charter of the United Nations Organization and international law itself remind us, war cannot be decided upon, even when it is a matter of ensuring the common good, except as the very last option and in accordance with very strict conditions, without ignoring the consequences for the civilian population both during and after the military operations.
Pope John Paul II
Our misguided leaders and half the country didn’t listen to him or any of the Churches before the Iraq war. Pray that we all listen and react before any military involvement in Iran.
Prayer of St Francis - Sara McLaughlin
"O Lord, make me an instrument of Thy Peace!
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is discord, harmony;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light,
and Where there is sorrow, joy.
Oh Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life."
For the Grace to Desire Peace
Great God, who has told us "Vengeance is mine,"save us from ourselves,
save us from the vengeance in our hearts
and the acid in our souls.
Save us from our desire to hurt as we have been hurt,
to punish as we have been punished,
to terrorize as we have been terrorized.
Give us the strength it takes
to listen rather than to judge,
to trust rather than to fear,
to try again and again
to make peace even when peace eludes us.
We ask, O God, for the grace to be our best selves.
We ask for the vision
to be builders of the human community
rather than its destroyers.
We ask for the humility as a people
to understand the fears and hopes of other peoples.
We ask for the love it takes
to bequeath to the children of the world to come
more than the failures of our own making.
We ask for the heart it takes
to care for all the peoples
of Afghanistan and Iraq, of Palestine and Israel (Lebanon, Darfur,Syria, Iran & those south of our border)
as well as for ourselves.
Give us the depth of soul, O God,
to constrain our might,
to resist the
temptations of power,
to refuse to attack the attackable,
to understand that vengeance begets violence,
and to bring peace – not war – wherever we go.
For You, O God, have been merciful to us.
For You, O God, have been patient with us.
For You, O God, have been gracious to us.
And so may we be mercifuland patient and gracious
with these others who you also love.
Joan D. Chittister, OSB
"Reprinted with permission from Pax Christi USA
I've never been strong enough to take this vow but here it is. Maybe someday I will be, maybe some day we all will be.
~VOW OF NONVIOLENCE~
RECOGNIZING THE VIOLENCE IN MY OWN HEART, yet trusting in the goodness and mercy of God, I vow for one year to practice the nonviolence of Jesus who taught us in the Sermon on the Mount: Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons and daughters of God...You have learned how it was said, "You must love your neighbor and hate your enemy"; but I say to you, "Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you. In this way, you will be daughters and sons of your Creator in heaven." Before God the Creator and the Sanctifying Spirit, I vow to carry out in my life the love and example of Jesus by striving for peace within myself and seeking to be a peacemaker in my daily life; by accepting suffering rather than inflicting it; by refusing to retaliate in the face of provocation and violence; by persevering in nonviolence of tongue and heart; by living conscientiously and simply so that I do not deprive others of the means to live; by actively resisting evil and working nonviolently to abolish war and the causes of war from my own heart and from the face of the earth. God, I trust in Your sustaining love and believe that just as You gave me the grace and desire to offer this, so You will also bestow abundant grace to fulfill it.
After reading and reflecting on the Vow of Nonviolence, people often commit themselves to trying to follow it daily for a year. If a group of people is committing to the vow, a ceremony can be planned. We invite all who take the vow to sign the following commitment statement and return it to us at Pax Christi USA, 532 West 8th Street, Erie, PA 16502 or at firstname.lastname@example.org I commit myself to living according to the Vow of Nonviolence for a one year period. Signature ___________________________________________________________ Name (Print) ________________________________________________________ Street ______________________________________________________________ City __________________________________ State ___________ Zip _________ Date _______________________________________________________________
Pax Christi USA
National Council of Churches USA
Fellowship of Reconciliation
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