This month marked the second anniversary of the death of Lydia Schatz, and the sixth anniversary date of the death of Sean Paddock quickly approaches at the end of the month. Then, before we know it, May will be here, marking the first anniversary of the death of Hana-Grace Williams.
While pondering the Independent Fundamental Baptists' (IFB) admiration for Proverbs 20:30 in support of beating children until they are bruised to purge ad drive away evil from them, a different Scripture popped into my mind. It happened on the anniversary date of Lydia's death as I prayed for all those who have been so deeply affected by the events. This thought hasn't occurred to me before when considering these matters so intently over the past year, but I thought of one distinct and very different Scripture from both the New and the Old Testaments. I recalled how Jesus stepped into the synagogue and declared the fulfillment of words of Isaiah:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised. . .(Luke 4:18)
There are many Scriptures which many others have argued that stand in contrast to and even repudiate this very non-Christian idea that man has the power to purge sin from himself or from others through corporal punishment. How can sinful flesh make another sinful person holy? This is something that only God does in us.
But today, I hope to pass on the epiphany that I had, inspired by the words of Jesus. He didn't come to bruise but he came to set us at liberty. Under the first, preferred meaning of the word 'liberty' on the Merriam Webster site, defining liberty as the quality or state of being free, it further delineates the meaning as both freedom from physical restraint and freedom from arbitrary or despotic control. God desires something so much better for us than domination, and even He does not seek to rule over people in this way.
Jesus doesn't instruct us to bruise anyone but seeks to heal those who are hurt, to deliver those who are captive, to give insight to those who are blinded and to deliver the bruised from their bondage. He does warn us about offending little ones and warns us that those who do will face something far worse than a millstone's weight and the deepest sea. If we are to follow His example, we must stand up against the captivity and the despots while attending to the wounded. He wants to drive away evil with goodness, not through punishment. He seeks to heal the “blueness of the wound,” not create more.
I am so grateful for HermanaLinda at Why Not Train a Child?, for Tulipgirl, and for many others like them who work to expose the darkness to the light concerning these matters.