We live in a tumultuous world that can change course in a heartbeat. It will take days for the repercussions from today's events in Pakistan to ripple across oceans and awaken slumbering apathetic peoples momentarily from their stupor. Only three years ago I remember seeing a small headline that a major earthquake had hit Indonesia and a tsunami might happen. At the time, no one could know the immense toll that tsunami would take in human lives.
Many times we do not know whether events that occur in our lives are meaningless passages of time or milestones in the passage of our lives. There is no way to judge the scope and impact of a situation until enough time passes to make an objective observation of the situation. By nature, we want answers and explanations "on the spot" to things that many times provide no immediate answers. Time is something our culture has ripped from our lives and somehow managed to deprive of us.
The "rush to judgment" that mob mentality breeds is seldom correct. The citizens of Pakistan have every right to be very upset by what took place today. They have every right to demand investigations be conducted and the guilty parties be tried in a court of law. But, do they have the right to take justice into their own hands and form vigilante groups to "hang" those who may or may not have been guilty?
The United States frontier was once made up of sparsely populated areas of gigantic geographical proportions administered by a handful of law enforcement officials. As a result, justice was many times administered by the vigilantes who would round up suspected criminals, hold court on the spot and execute the guilty party all in a matter of hours. Whether the person was really guilty or not was not the issue. Swift justice was the only thing that mattered, and the mob felt it did a better job than the Marshal could ever do. So go the tales from the old Wild West.
After a tragedy, and the assassination of the ex-Prime Minister in Pakistan is certainly a gigantic one, the need for revenge many times overrules the logical need to mourn. Too many times, people, groups and nations "rush to retaliate" after a horrible act of violence. As the saying goes, "violence begets violence" and the cycle goes on until someone comes along wise enough and bold enough to promote peace.
America had its version of what is playing out in Pakistan today back in 1968. There were many very newsworthy events that took place in that fateful year; but the two that shook the country to its very core were the two assassinations that took place in April and June of that year. In the space of two months, not one, but two leaders of the non-violent approach to change were felled by an assassin's bullet. America has never been the same since violence claimed two people who were on the verge of forever changing the very texture of American society.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a man far ahead of his time. The message of non-violent change he promoted was revolutionary at his time. His "dream" of an America no longer divided by race, ethnic origin or religion was at the time, only a dream. It was so far from reality, most dismissed the whole concept as ridiculous. Martin Luther King stood for far more than racial equality. His "dream" included the elimination of chronic poverty through people helping each other. Dr. King was a Christian minister who stood for Christian ideals. He deserves the prominent place in history he occupies.
When this great man of "non-violence" was violently assassinated, the shock waves spread across the United States exactly as the tsunami did three years ago. As news of what had happened in Memphis reached the bigger cities in America; riots broke out immediately. Like lights being lit on a Christmas tree, various cities from Los Angeles to Baltimore broke out into mayhem and riotous outrage. People became instantly desperate. Desperate people did desperate things for months after Dr. King's demise.
The United States had not even begun the healing process from Dr. King's death when lo and behold another great man was felled by an assassin's bullet. When Robert Kennedy was assassinated in California June 5th of 1968, the last chance for America to become a nation of compassion for those at the bottom of the social and economic strata died with him. "Bobby" Kennedy carried the torch of genuine care for the needy to his grave. No one has since ever picked it up and relit it.
As those who follow history know, the Democratic Party fell into total disarray after Mr. Kennedy's demise and their nominee for President, Hubert Humphrey, was defeated by Richard Nixon in the November elections. No one knows, but many historians feel that with the momentum from the California Primary victory, if RFK had lived, he very well might have won the nomination and possibly the election.
Think for a moment how America would be now if neither Martin Luther King Jr. nor Robert Kennedy had been assassinated back in 1968? Of course no one knows for it is impossible to redefine history. But, I think everyone would agree that things would have turned out far differently had these two men been allowed to live just as things would have been entirely different in this country if John Kennedy were not assassinated.
People get mad every day and take out their anger through very hurtful and damaging ways. Teenagers who are "mad at the world" resort to graffiti, then hurting animals and finally school and mall shootings. Employees who feel like they have not been treated fairly sue their former employer's and at time simply get rid of them. Spouses take out their "issues" on each other or their children. Verbal and physical abuse runs rampant in America households. Perhaps the ugliest of all is when children take out their frustrations in life on their elderly and helpless parents.
Anger and wrath are enemies of everyone, but especially believers. If allowed to fester and brew, anger issues can turn a quiet and polite child into a monster. Anger issues break people every day of the week. People just "snap" and suddenly are doing things they would never do ordinarily. Of course the television and the video games fuel this violence and make it nigh unto impossible at times to bring about peaceful resolutions to situations.
The Bible is very clear when it comes to anger and wrath issues. We are to put them away and not take them out of the box again. There is no place for anger and wrath within Christian relationships. All these things beget is injury and hurt. Whether it is a slow burning anger that takes a long time to get to the point of outburst, or a quick and sudden explosion of wrath; God wants and needs His people to keep it under control. It is extremely difficult for a person with a "temper" issue to get it and keep it under control. It is even harder for someone with a "lightning quick temper" to keep from losing control and "flying off the handle" or simply throwing a "temper tantrum".
Anger management is big business in the counseling field. People spend a ton of money to try and get help, with mixed results. Ultimately things such as anger and wrath are subdued with the Word of God living in our minds and hearts. The more the Word of God lives in you, the less room there is for all the negative issues of the old nature. In due time the Word of God will drive out the anger and shut the door so it can't return.
As we watch images of violence in Pakistan flood the television screen in the coming days; keep in mind the power of anger and how anger begets hate and hate begets violence. Hatred is not a good thing, and when mixed with the emotions brought about by other's senseless hatred; the inevitable result will be a spiraling escalation of reprisals and retaliations. Whether among groups in a nation or nation with nation or person with person; sooner or later it must stop, or it will be a tsunami of endless violence.
"History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people."
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Lets pray God makes some good come out of the tragedy in Pakistan.