Monday, August 1, 2011

Mercy to the undeserving

A woman in Iran stopped the punishment of a man who brutally attacked her with acid, disfiguring her and robbing her of her sight.  As a doctor was about to drip acid into one of the man's eyes in retribution for this heinous assault, she stopped him:
"I forgave him, I forgave him," she responded, asking the doctor to spare him at the last minute in a dramatic scene broadcast on Iran's state television.
Like most people, I've heard the term "an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth".  Rather than the normal interpretation that retribution for a wrong is mandatory, I interpret this to mean that if someone harms you, you may cause no more harm to your attacker than he did to you.  If someone breaks your hand, you do not ask that his hand be removed.

Forgiveness and mercy are what we are charged to show to those who wrong us when we are told to "offer the other cheek".  It is probably one of the hardest parts of Christ's teachings to follow.  Our natural instinct is to lash out at those who wrong us.  But just as we are forgiven for our trespasses, we must endeavor to forgive those who trespass against us. Yes, she's a Muslim, but this message carries through in her act of forgiveness.

This young lady will probably never be able to see again, and will be disfigured for the rest of her life.  Odds are that she will spend her life unmarried in a society that considers unmarried women as suspicious.  Mercy such as what she displayed is rare in our world, especially when she would have been so justified in letting the doctor complete the punishment.   I hope that by showing mercy, she will be able to find peace herself.


Joshkie said...


Old NFO said...

Amen to that, and hopefully she is NOT shunned...

Geodkyt said...

Daddy Bear --

That is exactly what "an eye for an eye" means. . . it is a LIMIT on retribution, a merciful reduction in suffering.

The previous standard was, "You spit in my face, my cousins and I come by and slaughter your family."

so few people understand these days, because so few have the slightest clue about the cultural matirx of anything outside their own neighborhood, much less across an ocean, in an arid land, amongst a bunch of goat herders, thousands of years ago.

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