Je Suis Charlie

“Charlie Hebdo, the French weekly that lampoons sacred cows,” was a headline that I selected from an article on the internet to introduce this article discussing resent news events. My usual selection of inspiration is from the Bible but I want to join in solidarity with world opinion in response to the “barbaric” massacre at the Charlie Hebdo offices. Many have taken to the streets and to the internet standing together under the banner, “I am Charlie,” or “Je Suis Charlie,” because of the horrific action of three men who massacred editors and staff at the satirical weekly because of cartoons and editorials depicting Mohammed, the founder of Islam. In my opinion such violent and vicious reaction to printed attacks is not a reflection of Islam any more than Hitler’s interpretation of Christianity was a proper reflection of the teachings of Jesus Christ or the Bible.

 

“You have heard that it was said, `Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do no resist and evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. I anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.” (Matthew 5: 38 – 42 NIV)

 

Few recognize that the above scripture is the basis for peaceful protest against injustice. Each of these situations were public statements against legal but inappropriate punishment. It was legal to strike a slave on the cheek with the left hand; but in turning the other cheek you would be making a statement to your owner to strike with his right hand, thereby making you equal with him and subjecting him to the possibility of being punished under the law. Imagine a court situation where your shirt is lost; unlikely though it may be; the reaction of totally agreeing with such an unjust judgment by leaving your coat as well and walking out naked certainly is a demonstration of protest. The Roman soldier could force a passer-by to carry his pack one mile; if you were to cheerfully continue a second mile you would make the soldier subject to possible discipline from his officer which could be as severe as death. All of this gentle, yet decisive protest could only be carried out if one did not care for his own life or finances. The concluding protest is to give of your resources to anyone who asks.

 

All of these examples of living are a demonstration of the fact that we do not hold this earthly life dear but find our treasure in heavenly places. I am greatly encouraged by many in the world realizing that life is worth more than self-consideration. I am inspired to continue to live according to the life and teaching of Jesus my Lord.