Anyone else hear that from mom or dad, perhaps while explaining the misguided nature of your efforts to confront some perceived injustice? It’s a principle. As much as we wish otherwise, the end doesn’t justify the means. Wrong in the pursuit of right is still wrong.
I’m thinking about What’s next? Thirty years after a catastrophic, life-altering injury I’m wondering where the path might lead from here.
I’ve learned I can’t see much by staring down the road. But sometimes, if I look at where I am and where I’ve been, I see patterns and trends, long arcs in the big picture of what God’s up to. And if I project forward I get an idea of where He may be directing me.
That’s how hope works. We look back and see that God has always kept His promises. So we project forward into a confident expectation about the future.
I don’t expect a detailed plan; He never promised that. I am sure Jesus will travel with me and use my circumstances for good.
So when you and I face a fork on the road and God leaves the decision to us, how do we choose? Rob Cowles suggests (worth clicking and listening) the most helpful question is, “What’s wise?”
James 1:5 assures me I’ll receive wisdom if I ask. I don’t usually feel very wise, but James also offers guidance about recognizing authentic wisdom.
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. (James 3: 17-18)
Peace-loving. Considerate. Submissive. Mercy and good fruit. Impartial and sincere.
When I examine those attributes in light of where we are and where we’ve been, when I project forward the arc of where God seems to be pointing us, a single word comes into focus: Justice.
Biblical justice, the notion of doing what we can to set things right. I think we’re do what we can, where we are, to address injustice. Which brings me back to “two wrongs don’t make a right.”
“I’m concerned about a better world. I’m concerned about justice; I’m concerned about brotherhood; I’m concerned about truth. And when one is concerned about that, he can never advocate violence. For through violence you may murder a murderer, but you can’t murder murder. Through violence you may murder a liar, but you can’t establish truth. Through violence you may murder a hater, but you can’t murder hate through violence. Darkness cannot put out darkness; only light can do that.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Wisdom that comes from heaven is…peace-loving.”
Two wrongs don’t make a right.
“You can’t murder murder.”
Violence in the name of peace is insanity.