FROM PASTOR STEWART

In these days after Remembrance Day - even as we prayed for peace last Sunday - violence has continued to break out all over the world.  As I write today we hear reports of yet another school shooting, more violence in the Middle East, and now a coupe in Zimbabwe. Now to be sure there are a whole narrative of social upheavals behind all this but… little things matter.  How we treat each other in day to day life matters.  How much we stoke the fires of violence in our own attitudes OR how we become people of peace matters!  Here as little story from a book I use that reminds us of how deeply hatred can infect us.

 An Eye for an Eye

      Anger easily turns to hatred, which ends in murder.  The cross is not only God’s answer to the wrath of the Sadducees and the rage of the Pharisees, but also to our anger.  If anger is not transformed by love, it becomes a powerful and senseless force, as we see in this story

      In a large town there were two merchants who were fierce competitors.  Their stores were across the street from each other.  The sole method each man had of determining the success of his business was not daily profit, but how much more business he had than his competitor.

      If a customer made a purchase at the store of one merchant, he would taunt his competitor when the sale was complete.  The rivalry grew with each succeeding year.

      One day God sent an angel to one of the merchants with an offer.  “The Lord God has chosen to give you a great gift,” the angel said.  “Whatever you desire, you will receive.  Ask for riches, long life, or healthy children, and the wish is yours.  There is one stipulation,” the angel cautioned.  “Whatever you receive, your competitor will get twice as much.  If you ask for 1000 gold coins, he will receive 2000.  If you become famous, he will become twice as famous.”  The angel smiled.  “This is God’s way to teaching you a lesson.”

      The merchant thought for a moment. “You will give me anything I request?”  The angel nodded.  The man’s face darkened.  “I ask that you strike me blind in one eye.”

                                                - from Stories For Telling – W.R. White