Loving Your Neighbor, Even the One You Hate

Jews, Moslems and Christians all revere the first five books of the Bible. Many use Deuteronomy 19:21, “Show no pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.” (NIV) to justify reprisal for injuries suffered.

But revenge is only satisfying if you hit last. On a personal, family or national level, that’s no way to live in peace with your neighbors. We see that being acted out in Israel and Gaza currently.

There is another way, also found in those first five books (Leviticus 19:18), “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself.”

The trigger for the current round of bloodshed was the murder of four teens. Some of their families have tried that better way. The Week magazine (July 18, 2014) reports that the families of the slain Israeli and Palestinian teens whose murders sparked the recent surge of violence in the Middle East are drawing comfort from each other. Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat told of “an emotional and special telephone conversation” between the families of two of the murdered teens—one Israeli, the other Palestinian. A group of Palestinians met with the family of another Israeli victim. “Things will only get better when we learn to cope with each other’s pain,” one of the Palestinians said.

Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem.

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