I grew up in Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry Era, back in the days when John Wayne was the cinematic epitome of “old school” manhood and gritty, gruff men like Charles Bronson were the questionably unquestioned good guys in their take no prisoners cop roles on the silver screen.
During this era, is probably when I first heard the phrase, “Kill ’em all. Let God sort ’em out.”
Sadly, this sentiment actually dates back to the 1200’s during the massacres of so-called heretics, back when the church was the governing political power in Europe. Basically, stating that it doesn’t matter if good and righteous people couldn’t be distinguished from the so-called heretics. Kill everyone as a potential source of heresy and when they were dead God would know His own.
800 years or so have passed and WE still think like this.
Whether it is about religion, guns, corporations, banks, assistance recipients, or those in the criminal justice systems. It is gender bias, national & tribal prejudice, and a myriad of other social injustices and inequalities. Teenagers vs adults, women vs men, LGBT vs straight, have nots vs haves.
We declare that people are selfish, ignorant, or uncaring and criticize their mistakes based on our assumptions are of who they appear to be to our naked eye. All because we were delayed or inconvenienced in our own personal pursuit of our personal desire or mission.
I believe the time has come to make a radical shift in our thoughts, our assumptions, our words and our actions. Especially if we claim to be Christians.
We proclaim the biblical declaration in John 3:16 that ” God so loved the world…” THE WORLD.
God loves the entire world and all who live, have ever lived, or will ever live. He doesn’t love evil, hateful, abusive, and murderous thought or action that may be in the hearts and minds of anyone, but He loves EVERYONE.
He had mercy on a brother killer as well as an adulterer who was also a manipulative abuser of power and a murderer by proxy. He included a woman who has been considered to be a prostitute into the lineage of the One whom many call Savior. He turned a narrow-minded religious zealot who persecuted and wrongfully killed many people because they came to believe in a different spiritual path to God.
I venture to suggest that if the people, who committed such heinous, hurtful, and unwholesome acts were redeemed and redirected into becoming people of faith and love, then we don’t get to decide who is beyond redemption. It is not our place to look at the crimes and errors in a person’s life and decide he or she is not worthy of love and compassion.
Certainly, we are within our rights to limit their ability to continue to do harm, if their actions indicate they are dangerous to others, especially those least able to defend themselves. However, do so without vicious hatred and contempt.
As difficult as it is, the law I chose to live by is the law of love. I have gotten it wrong and forgotten that directive a lot of times. Each time I have done so and spoken or acted out of my own woundedness and pain, I have caused more damage than I mitigated.
I have to remember and open myself to Divine Love in order to choose to act and speak in love to the people in my world whose words and actions cause me to want to withdraw in fear, hurt, disgust, embarrassment, anger, helplessness and discomfort. It is my job to love them all and let God sort them out.
The time has come to let go of human judgement and allow Divine Love: forgiveness, grace, compassion, empathy, reconciliation, faith, and hope to infuse and permeate the mind and heart and flow into constructive thought and action.