Rosemarie Paceby Rosemarie Pace
Pax Christi Metro New York Coordinator

Love.  It’s the fundamental teaching of every religion.  In our own Christian faith, Jesus presented it in the form of the two greatest commandments:  Love God.  Love your neighbor.  And when a young man asked, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan.  In other words, he added that third commandment of love:  Love your enemies.

These commandments of love can seem so pleasant, so up-lifting, so acceptable, but one thing they are not is easy.  Jesus showed us what it takes to live them every time he reached out to the outcasts in his culture:  the sick and disabled, the laborer and the tax collector, the prostitute and the thief, the widow and the child.  He also showed what it takes each time he encountered the officials of his time and place, restoring life to the child of an officer of the army that occupied his homeland and healing the severed ear of a soldier who came to arrest him.  He kept living the laws of love no matter how much he was ridiculed or threatened.  He kept living the laws of love all the way to the cross where he forgave his torturers and executioners who found such laws a threat to their own.

Today, God’s laws continue to conflict with human laws.  After all, if we gave precedent to God’s laws over human laws, how could we invest our God-given talents and resources in the creation and development of nuclear weapons?  How could we justify torture?  How could we allow people to go without adequate food, clean water, affordable housing, living wages, high-quality education, universal health care, and a sustainable environment?  How could we tolerate racism, sexism, ageism, classism, or any other type of discriminatory ism?  How could we permit people to be imprisoned for nonviolent protests against the deaths of innocent civilians in war and allow their killers to go free?

If God’s law superseded human law, could someone aggressively pursue an unarmed teenager and kill him, claiming self-defense only after he initiated the altercation, and be acquitted?  Could “stand your ground” apply to the perpetrator, but not the accosted?  Could “stand your ground” be law at all?

Many like to describe our country as a country of laws and a Christian country, but is it possible to be both when civil law so badly contradicts the laws that Christ taught us?  Jesus was renowned for putting God first.  If he were in George Zimmerman’s shoes, Trayvon Martin would most likely be alive today.  Hard as it is, when we face any dilemma between God’s laws and human law, let us make sure that God’s laws of LOVE win out.

5 thoughts on “REFLECTION: God’s law of love or stand your ground?

  1. If God’s law superseded human law, could someone aggressively pursue an unarmed teenager and kill him, claiming self-defense only after he initiated the altercation, and be acquitted? The hypothetical that you posit is an implication that is counter to the facts. It is good to write and speak of love as predicated by the Lord Jesus. But it is not good to inaccurately specify facts. Truth can not be twisted even if the expected results are lofty. Jesus never used falsehoods.
    You are an intelligent writer. I am sure that you could make your points without reliance on implications based on falsehoods.

  2. Ms Pace stated no falsehoods … the National Neighborhood Watch program has posted examples of how Zimmerman violated their practices. The whole emphasis on guns = manhood in this country is proof that we are not a Christian or Jewish or even halfway civilized nation …

  3. I find your comments interesting especially :”If God’s law superseded human law, could someone aggressively pursue an unarmed teenager and kill him, claiming self-defense only after he initiated the altercation, and be acquitted? Could “stand your ground” apply to the perpetrator, but not the accosted? Could “stand your ground” be law at all”
    Before the George Zimmerman trial… before “stand your ground” became the central focus,,, do you think that unarmed teenagers were not being killed by others? (I am not talking about the Black on Black crimes.) I am talking about the justification of the killing of unarmed Black men. This is not the first, nor will it be the last as long as we ignored the real core problem – it is okay to kill unarmed people of color or blame people of color. How many criminal incidents in New York alone where the first person that was blamed, picked up, shot at, chased was a Black man or Black male teenager? Yet, if it is proved that it was not a Black person… I have yet to hear an apology or maybe it was small print or just posted locally. No just a justification why is was reasonable to do it.
    I will agree that human law seem to have moved God’s law to the side and many do describe the USA as a Christian country. But we ‘Christians’ continually ask for more laws… more freedom to do what we want to do… God’s law does not give us freedom to do what we want, it is a narrow path to love, justice and peace.

  4. Great questions raised. Living the law of love is indeed, not easy, but simple – we just don’t want to live that simply in this country, it seems.

Leave a Reply to Pearlette Springer Cancel reply