This Week's Comment from Network 7 News 

Edition 376 – September 11, 2004.  

 This weeks  was written by AWR's  English Language Service Director, Victor Hulbert.  The full programme can be heard in Real Audio on our web-site.

Judge not?

For a rough translation in your own language click here: Translate now

The last place I expect the Bible to be quoted is on a pro-terrorist website.  And yet, in response to last week’s massacre at a school in Beslan , Russia , we find a website [i] close to the most extreme Chechen commander quoting Matthew 7:2 (NIV)  

For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.  

A justification for the slaughter of more than 350 innocent civilians and children?  For the devastation of a school and a community? According to the website, “Yes,” – for that’s but a small number in comparison to the 42,000 Chechen children of school age that the website claims have been killed by what it calls “Russian invaders” or the 250,000 Chechen civilians who have died in the battles between the Chechen rebels and Putin’s forces.  The site maybe fails to mention the 175 years of blood feuding between the two countries – yet that time period in itself demonstrates how difficult a problem it may be to solve.  

Using the Bible to say “you had it coming to you” seems to be very much a misconstruction of Jesus teaching.  The website quotes three texts in the Gospels where Jesus points out the dangers of judging others.  What the site fails to do is point out the context, and outrageous hyperbole of Jesus to “take the plank out your own eye before taking the speck of dust out of your neighbours.  

Of course, that kind of idea would not fit in with terrorism, or war of any kind.  It would make us conciliatory, thinking of others before ourselves – and that is not the way to win.  

However, winning is not necessarily what terrorism is all about.  Lawrence Durrell is a British novelist who spent much of his childhood in the Mediterranean, especially Corfu .  His classic novel, “Bitter Lemons” is an account of the Eoka uprising in Cyprus , under the British. This is what he wrote about the terrorist mindset:  

"His primary objective is not battle. It is to bring down upon the community in general a reprisal for his wrongs, in the hope that fury and resentment roused by punishment meted out to the innocent will gradually swell the ranks of those from whom he will draw further recruits."  

That seems a fairly accurate description.  It also means that Presidents and Generals charged with countering terrorism find a hard task on their hands.  How to deal with the terrorist while not feeding hate and resentment amongst the groups the terrorist hopes to recruit from.  

No easy task  -- and while most of us have little option or influence in what action takes place, we do have options on dealing with similar issues in our own lives.  You see, the Bible text quoted by the terrorists was one that really is talking most about living in peace with our neighbours, doing good to those who you might be expected to do harm to, and allowing God to make the final judgements, if and when they are necessary.  

And if you think Jesus doesn’t understand about such things, remember he grew up in a world of oppression by Roman armies, or terrorism from Jewish Zealots, and an atmosphere of distrust in government, local and national.   

It was in that atmosphere of distrust that he spoke these words:

 Luke 6:32-38 (NIV)  

"If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' love those who love them. 33And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' do that. 34And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' lend to 'sinners,' expecting to be repaid in full. 35But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

37"Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."

 That seems almost the opposite of the terrorist manifesto.  It’s hard.  It’s challenging – but if it can work in individual situations then maybe it can work in the world of international terrorism as well.

[i] By the time this went to print the website was no longer on line therefore we reference this article to a secondary source quoting the site.

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