20 April 2013

The Tsarnaev Legacy: We Get to Decide What it is

My friend Mitch Barnett posted today on Facebook:
"While everyone celebrates the fact that the two Boston Bomb suspects have been caught, I hope that everyone would remember the fact that another life has been lost to this incident (Tamerlan Tsarnaev) and now yet another life hangs in the balance. While these people were mistaken, and performed a terrible act of aggression on innocent people, they are human beings; they have families that loved and cared for them; they had friends. Keep your perspective in check before you begin to cast a message of hate at the two brothers. Violence and death solve nothing."
It's one thing to call for justice[1] but hatred is something else altogether. Hatred only leads to more hatred, misery and destruction-- if only in the hater. Seldom is it that limited.

Jesus spoke of justice but he also spoke of love. Everything he did was in the context of love. He went to the cross so that we need not face ultimate justice for our sins. The two greatest commandments do not mention justice:

"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?"

Jesus replied: "`Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: `Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." (Mt 22:35-40, NIV)

Justice goes hand in glove with the Law. So even justice must be defined by Love.

The best possible outcome at this point is healing for all involved. I pray for emotional healing in all who lost a loved one or whose loved ones were hurt in any way. I pray for emotional and physical healing of everyone hurt (though about two hundred were physically hurt, thousands-- perhaps millions-- were emotionally scarred). I pray for the monetary damage to be overcome, that nobody would ultimately lose from this. I pray for the peace and joy of Boston, for the runners and their families and friends, for the people whose jobs or businesses were impacted.

When I say "all" I mean "all". I pray for the Tsarnaev family-- including these two brothers-- and friends. I pray that Boston, and Massachusetts, and the USA, and the world, will realize the futility and foolishness of hate, and turn to love.

Love has the best chance of bringing out love in people (others and ourselves). Hate tends to bring only more hate. Which do you want coming your way? Then think about what you're living out.

I believe that love requires us to stop heinous acts. Often this comes at a high price. But we cannot let that price be hatred or we become part of the problem.

In the words of Tiny Tim, "God bless us every one"-- with love and mercy, peace and joy. We've already seen much too much hatred, death, fear and misery.

While we're at it, pray for those in West, Texas. More people died and were physically injured in this than in Boston. While far less people are involved overall, it's a much smaller community, so the devastation within the community is huge.


[1] I find restitution to be the best form of justice, but it is not always possible, especially in violent crimes. Obviously, the perpetrators here cannot bring people back to life, replace limbs, restore the lost days of peoples' lives or the many millions of dollars wasted, rewind the Boston Marathon to the explosion point and let it finish, or remove the fear, pain and anguish inflicted this week.

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