“Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know.”
Several years ago I read of a company which had a problem with one of its division managers. It was reported this vice president was regularly over-stepping authority and had even had talks with a competitor regarding a job offer which would involve taking several of the company’s key customers and employees (as part of that offer). When the problem was first brought to the Board’s attention, approval was given for the president of the company to deal with the situation quickly and personally. The president felt it was appropriate to involve the firm’s legal counsel — what followed was a metaphorical bloodbath which led to a whole division being eliminated, including several long time employees.
When I read our passage today, this unpleasant event came to mind as it pretty well sums up what happens when corporate managers and attorneys are given instructions to protect a company’s interests: “Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know.” In fact it’s true for most of us. After all, what is the first reaction to being pushed? That’s right: Push back harder! It is also why Jesus instructed us in Luke 6:29: “If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic.” He knew it was against our nature to not seek retribution.
Paul’s comments (a quote from Isaiah 59:7-8) are a global indictment upon all of humanity — man would rather shed blood than find peaceful resolutions — but why? Why are we so quick to seek compensation for real or perceived injustices? Why is the term “payback” so much a part of our culture? What does the Bible say is God’s perspective? Read and consider 1 John 4:19: “We love because he first loved us.”