Tag Archives: Violence

40 Days of Lent – Reading #37


MARK 14:32-72 NKJV

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Then they came to a place which was named Gethsemane; and He said to His disciples, “Sit here while I pray.”  And He took Peter, James, and John with Him, and He began to be troubled and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch.” He went a little farther, and fell on the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will. ” Then He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “Simon, are you sleeping? Could you not watch one hour?  Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Again He went away and prayed, and spoke the same words. And when He returned, He found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy; and they did not know what to answer Him. Then He came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? It is enough! The hour has come; behold, the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners.  Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand.” And immediately, while He was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. Now His betrayer had given them a signal, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him and lead Him away safely.” As soon as he had come, immediately he went up to Him and said to Him, “Rabbi, Rabbi!” and kissed Him. Then they laid their hands on Him and took Him. And one of those who stood by drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear.

Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me?  I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize Me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.” Then they all forsook Him and fled. Now a certain young man followed Him, having a linen cloth thrown around his naked body.  And the young men laid hold of him, and he left the linen cloth and fled from them naked.

And they led Jesus away to the high priest; and with him were assembled all the chief priests, the elders, and the scribes. But Peter followed Him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. And he sat with the servants and warmed himself at the fire. Now the chief priests and all the council sought testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, but found none. For many bore false witness against Him, but their testimonies did not agree. Then some rose up and bore false witness against Him, saying, “We heard Him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands.’ ” But not even then did their testimony agree. And the high priest stood up in the midst and asked Jesus, saying, “Do You answer nothing? What is  it these men testify against You?” But He kept silent and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked Him, saying to Him, “Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” Jesus said, “I am. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “What further need do we have of witnesses? You have heard the blasphemy! What do you think?” And they all condemned Him to be deserving of death.

Then some began to spit on Him, and to blindfold Him, and to beat Him, and to say to Him, “Prophesy!” And the officers struck Him with the palms of their hands. Now as Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came. And when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked at him and said, “You also were with Jesus of Nazareth.” But he denied it, saying, “I neither know nor understand what you are saying.” And he went out on the porch, and a rooster crowed. And the servant girl saw him again, and began to say to those who stood by, “This is one of them.” But he denied it again.

And a little later those who stood by said to Peter again, “Surely you are one of them; for you are a Galilean, and your speech shows it. ” Then he began to curse and swear, “I do not know this Man of whom you speak!” A second time the rooster crowed. Then Peter called to mind the word that Jesus had said to him, “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.” And when he thought about it, he wept.

Compassion: A Fourteen-Day Journey #10


How Much Is a Life worth?

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As easy as it is for us to grow thick skin from the daily diet of violence served up by the media, most of us still cringe when we read about the Ammonites’ brutality to the people of Gilead, Israel’s territory east of Galilee. Respect for human life is always at stake during wartime, but in this case, the Ammonites’ unnecessary torture and violence toward their victims is an example of how life was devalued during the time.

In our day, we struggle with ethical dilemmas in the areas of reproduction, biotechnology and death. How can the sanctity of life be preserved in our world–where scientific advances are complex and confusing, where technology changes at an ever-increasing speed? Evangelical leader Charles Colson addresses issues related to abortion, stem cell research and euthanasia in a discussion under the heading “What Is Life Worth?” Some poignant paragraphs follow:

Life and death become judgment calls, subject in some cases to ethics committees’ determinations and hospital guidelines. But who decides what our ethics will be? If there is no truth, there are no true ethics, only prudential standards that reasonable people try to apply. So the best-intentioned doctors in the world have to make judgment calls, ever aware of the costs involved for the hospital in which they are staff members. Aware of the patient’s suffering, pressured to handle as many cases as possible, embroiled in a quality-of-life matrix, the white-coated doctor becomes god, with nothing like God’s judgment.

I don’t want to be misunderstood here. Max’s Colson’s grandson’s autism is not a good thing–it’s part of the world’s brokenness. Yet that brokenness has been used to enlarge my capacity to love. That’s a very great gift. Paradoxically, Max has introduced joy into the lives of his teachers, his mother, her grandparents, and many others because of these costs, these sacrifices. How should one account for that?

How should Max account for himself, and why should he have to? Max is more than happy to be alive, thank you very much. Max knows a joy and wonder that puts me to shame. Why is that?

Let me just suggest at this point it’s because the good life is not about the sum total of what we contribute to the world. It’s about loving. Utilitarianism knows nothing about love. Love is the beginning and the end of the good life, however, and it’s in love that our lives must be centered.

The issue that has to be decided is clear if we’re willing to see it If we are creatures made in the image of God, then life has an ultimate value that cannot be understood within the context of a cost-benefit analysis. How much is a human life worth? Is it priceless, or is it determined by the preferences of the powerful? It all depends on how human life comes about, which has given rise to a raging debate in our society.

AMOS 1:3-15 NKJV

Thus says the Lord : “For three transgressions of Damascus, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, Because they have threshed Gilead with implements of iron. But I will send a fire into the house of Hazael, Which shall devour the palaces of Ben-Hadad. I will also break the gate  bar of Damascus, And cut off the inhabitant from the Valley of Aven, And the one who holds the scepter from Beth Eden. The people of Syria shall go captive to Kir,” Says the Lord . Thus says the Lord : “For three transgressions of Gaza, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, Because they took captive the whole captivity To deliver them up to Edom. But I will send a fire upon the wall of Gaza, Which shall devour its palaces. I will cut off the inhabitant from Ashdod, And the one who holds the scepter from Ashkelon; I will turn My hand against Ekron, And the remnant of the Philistines shall perish,” Says the Lord God . Thus says the Lord : “For three transgressions of Tyre, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, Because they delivered up the whole captivity to Edom, And did not remember the covenant of brotherhood. But I will send a fire upon the wall of Tyre, Which shall devour its palaces.” Thus says the Lord : “For three transgressions of Edom, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, Because he pursued his brother with the sword, And cast off all pity; His anger tore perpetually, And he kept his wrath forever. But I will send a fire upon Teman, Which shall devour the palaces of Bozrah.” Thus says the Lord : “For three transgressions of the people of Ammon, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, Because they ripped open the women with child in Gilead, That they might enlarge their territory. But I will kindle a fire in the wall of Rabbah, And it shall devour its palaces, Amid shouting in the day of battle, And a tempest in the day of the whirlwind. Their king shall go into captivity, He and his princes together,” Says the Lord .

Five Movies I enjoyed, but..


cannot take a family to see.

5. An Officer and a Gentleman – This is sort of a redemptive story about a selfish heel who learns to think of someone besides himself.  With a bigger than life climax, it satisfies the yearn for people to make it, to turn their life around.  negatives for the nudity and some of the language, but the main storyline was great.

4. Die Hard (the whole series)- You want the protagonist to conquer all odds and win against the bad guys.  This part is very satisfying, but do you really want your kids emulating the disrespect for authority, spouting the smart remarks, or God forbid, copying the violence?  enough said.

3. Casino Royale – James Bond is a thrill a minute, but I would not want the kids trying some of the stunts or seeing some of the spicier scenes in any of the “Bond” movies.  I may understand the satire and appreciate the ridiculous predicaments, but kids tend to treat it like it is real.  Sometimes they grow up warped enough by reality, we do not need to add another dimension of warped fantasy.

2. Man of Steel – the new superman movie is just too violent for youngsters, with non-stop destruction.  I do not think they value the history of the character as much as those who grew up reading comics, so what are they going to concentrate on?  Violence over the top in this one.

1. Fast and Furious – the series, #6 now playing.  Who doesn’t like hot cars?  Car races are something we simply cannot resist.  You and I may be able to put automobile violence into perspective, but I submit that most kids cannot.  And the more of these type movies they see, the more images of “stunts” they store in their head.  Remember the crazy things they did with a snow board, jet ski or even a skate board?  Expect that x 10, x 100!  They do not have the perspective to realize that they will not always get up out of the crash, dust off and then challenge another car.

I know some can make the point that I should not watch these movies either.  I’m listening to you, but so far, I’ve been able to handle it.  I love watching movies like this as a form of escapism.  Maybe I should revisit why I feel the need to escape?  Tell me what you think.