The word of the Lord came by the prophet Jehu the son of Hanani against Baasha and his house, both because of all the evil that he did in the sight of the Lord, provoking him to anger with the work of his hands, in being like the house of Jeroboam, and also because he destroyed it. (1 Kings 16:7)
There were two chief reasons Baasha (a war general who killed the entire royal family and claimed the crown for himself) was brought down from the throne of Israel. Firstly, he did evil things with a heart against the Lord. But secondly– he destroyed those before him who had done the exact same things.
My recurring thought was, “Why was it wrong for him to destroy people who were doing evil things? Wasn’t it a good thing that they were removed from power?” I’d still been ruminating over this passage in my mind, and He had me simply talk it out with Him. Going to Him was a much better choice than trying to figure it out myself, by the way. I would recommend it. And maybe do it immediately instead of spending more time in confusion by yourself.
Baasha destroyed people who did evil and had hearts that sought it. But, in the same moment, he also was doing evil and had that same heart. He was no different from those he destroyed. It was never about justice; it was about getting rid of the people in his way, so that he could do the same things they were doing.
He was destroying them not because they were evil and deserved it, but because he wanted to build himself up.
This feels too familiar.
We tear down people who do wrong. We pick them apart with our words and our actions. But are our hearts ever in the place of doing so to bring goodness into the world? When we tear people down, two evils are being committed. Because we do wrong things, too, and we’re acting as if we don’t, even if we know otherwise. The destruction of people no different from us is an added evil, not a removal of evil.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.
There have been a lot of topics and issues raised in our world recently that everyone believes they have the answer to. The problem is, everyone seems to have a different answer. That makes it difficult and noisy and confusing. We begin yelling at each other, and tearing each other apart, and sharing our strong opinions, about people we may have never even spoken to.
When maybe we should focus on bringing the beasts inside ourselves to the Lord instead. And realize that there is no such thing as a good excuse to not be kind.
“The only violence we’re ever called to inflict upon the world is the violence against our own sin.” –Mike Donehey