10 My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.
11 If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause:
12 Let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit:
13 We shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil:
14 Cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse:
15 My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path:
16 For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood.
We should not keep company with people who plot to do others harm, and we certainly should not participate in their plans of violence.
It seems like most people would resist plans that are obviously violent, but sadly, that is not always the case.
Why do these things happen?
Are people convinced that their violent actions are justified?
Jesus said there would come a time when many would kill thinking that they do God’s service.
Maybe that’s just it, and the way a person might rationalize violence greatly depends on who or what their god is.
Some people worship a societal goal. Some people worship a set of religious doctrines or ideas. Some people worship material possessions. Some people worship power and influence over others. Some people worship themselves and act out of self-preservation. The list of the gods of man can go on and on, and sadly, many people are all too eager to destroy others in the name of their god.
I sometimes wonder about the violent capacity of mankind. Sometimes I see things people will do to others and I’m in shock. I ask myself, what kind of person would do such a thing?
I think most of us are capable of greater violence and sin in general than we might realize. Given the right circumstances, there is no knowing what we could be capable of. If we think we are so much better, then maybe we should consider ourselves.
If we have ever slandered someone, even on a small scale, then we are participating in a plot to destroy another person. If we have ever listened to a person speak slander then supported that person or spread the slander to someone else, then we are doing the same thing.
On a larger scale, there are those who plan to ruin lives socially or in business. Maybe this happens in a workplace setting, among family, or in some other community.
On an even larger scale we have acts of violent protests or singling out a certain sect of people for destruction because they stand in the way of whatever the god demands.
There are many reasons why a person might participate in planned violence. What are the core motivations? Motivations could include fear, self-righteousness, pride, envy, or whatever it is that makes a person thoughtlessly jump into crowd induced violence simply because everyone else is doing the same.
How can we avoid participating with those who plot to destroy others?
On a small-scale, we should use caution when hearing the complaints of others. Maybe they are sincere and maybe they are slander. If we can investigate, maybe we should. If it is no big deal, then maybe we leave it alone but do not perpetuate the matter.
On a larger scale, we can educate ourselves and consider as many points of view as possible. We should consider the effects of actions taken, no matter how good the intent or proposed outcome is claimed to be. The ends do not justify the means. We can consider similar events in history, the patterns that might be repeating, and the potential consequences.
We should avoid an overly strict loyalty to any side, always remembering that our first allegiance is to Jesus. We should develop a strong sense of right and wrong according to the teachings of Jesus and stand our ground, no matter how much the opposing side attempts to sway us or portray us as the evildoers.
How can we avoid being targeted by violence?
Let’s consider Jesus. There were times when he simply walked away and escaped danger. There were times when Jesus refused to “cast pearls before swine.” There were times when Jesus spoke boldly and performed His work regardless of what the powers were saying and doing. In the end, however, Jesus suffered and gave up His life for the cause of others.
As with all things, we should seek the Lord often and He will give us what we need to handle any situation. Maybe we walk away and hold our peace. Maybe we speak boldly. Maybe we stand and defend ourselves and others. Maybe we give up our life. In the end what matters is that we do not give in to the pressure of the powers who lay in wait to destroy and we center our actions around the only true God.
How can I consider myself in this?
What capacity might I have for plotting the destruction of others? Do I carry the same motivations in any measure? Have I been used by murderous people as an ally for doing harm to someone else in any measure? Have I convinced others to join me in doing harm to someone else in any measure? Do I have any other gods than Jesus? How can I prepare myself and increase my relationship with Jesus so that I can stand against those who plot to destroy?
These are the questions I will be thinking about today.