“Here’s another old saying that deserves a second look: ‘Eye for eye, tooth for tooth.’ Is that going to get us anywhere? Here’s what I propose: ‘Don’t hit back at all.’ … “You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘ Love your friend.’ and its unwritten companion. ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst.
We remember the story of the Hatfields and the McCoys – a blood feud that went on and on. Their story was one of their inability to stop – when one person was killed, one from the other family had to pay the price. The price did not bring back the dead and it did not heal the living. At times we get caught in a trap, and become addicted to the way we’ve always done it. We all feel so much superior to the other, and feel no sympathy or empathy – we just justify our own anger and spite. These problems arise at the end of a war, or a court case when someone is finally declared the winner – but the pain lingers on – we don’t know how to let go. The American Civil War is a prime lesson in this sad reality. Life is most difficult along our common journeys, and somewhere we are called to forgive, remembering that forgiving is not necessarily forgetting. But it is working to let go of the pain, without inflicting the same pain on someone else, just to make us feel better.