I was reading in Exodus 21 and came across a passage that made a lot of sense to me. The problem is that I rarely see it practiced and rightly so, because we have a different law than the one in the text. However, listen to what it says and see if we can’t learn a thing or two from this law:
18 “Now suppose two men quarrel, and one hits the other with a stone or fist, and the injured person does not die but is confined to bed. 19 If he is later able to walk outside again, even with a crutch, the assailant will not be punished but must compensate his victim for lost wages and provide for his full recovery.
I think the biggest thing that sticks out to me is that the one who injures the other is responsible for the care and compensation of the other. This law isn’t just about paying some money and walking away, and it is not only addressing having some sort of guilty conscience. These two men, although they were quarreling, are part of the same community and the sharing of life continues to happen even after the fight calms down.
I think my first response after injuring someone would be to walk away and forget them. They obviously deserved what they received and I would figure out a way to justify my behavior. We don’t continue in community, but seek to cut off communion with others and often seek another community to join (perhaps because we are more mobile than our ancient friends). How convenient that is for us, but for our ancient friends there was no such options.
I often wonder if God, who wholeheartedly believes and practices reconciliation, holds us responsible for the people we injure even if we try to ignore our action, or them. Does God see our broken relationships as normal or as opportunities for restoration? Does God want us to get to a safe place in another community or to take responsibility for what we have done even if it costs us something? Does God hold us accountable for righting our wrongs? So, suppose two people quarrel and you injure the other person…what should you do to be right in the eyes of our God?
I want to share thoughts, insights, and scriptures that lead us in the direction of Christ.