Ice cream for dessert every night. Gone. Cookies in the freezer. Gone. Tasty Amish-Mennonite cooking with flavor and zest? Replaced by flavorless, no-salt, whole wheat noodles with tuna. You have to remember, if you did something like this in the 70's, there wasn't a lot of help available to make this change toward healthier foods and still maintain things that the palate enjoys.
On the other hand, it was good for me. I learned about life and differences, the challenge of standing alone (and at times it felt like our family was very alone) for one's convictions. But one particular lesson stood out. The standard response in the medical field is to fight fire with fire, poison with poison. Many of the effective treatments we have are about killing disease by taking some sort of drug. An antibiotic is not a biotic. Chemotherapy or radiation is so challenging because it is about destroying the cancer and hoping you survive the chemo or radiation. In the alternative health world, the theory is to focus on building strength. I learned the importance of fortifying your body against disease so that it can withstand all the bad stuff it encounters.
In recent years, we've seen how evil (in this case, a staph infection) evolves to overcome our antibiotics. We get superbugs. The latest to hit the news is the Ebola virus, and we wonder what will happen to us in the United States if it breaks out here.
In many ways, we also see this with evil. ISIS is a threat that is in the news, and evil seems to be evolving. Technology increases to the power and reach of evil, whether it is through the technology that is used to kill or to create fear and propaganda. And I would suggest that is the nature of our world, both in anthropology and biology. A mentality of fighting evil with superior, crushing retaliation creates a mutation process that increases the strength and presence of evil.
That increasing strength is ultimately an illusion. Jesus went around healing people and casting out demons. His power was one of building strength, not superior, crushing retaliation. When attacked for what he did, he asked, "“Any kingdom divided by civil war is doomed. A town or family splintered by feuding will fall apart. And if Satan is casting out Satan, he is divided and fighting against himself. His own kingdom will not survive." Matthew 12:25-26 (NLT)
In this passage, he exposes the fallacy. Using the crushing force of retaliation is repaying evil for evil. When evil is what returned, evil is not erased. It will seem it is gaining strength. But humanity also gets closer to seeing the power of the Gospel. It is most clearly seen in the midst of the greatest evil. The power of non-retaliatory strength is what ultimately changes the world. It is at the heart of the message of Jesus. It is the power of the cross, it is the reality of the resurrection. We need not fear death and can embrace life.
-John M Troyer
This blog is updated each day except on Sunday. Liking the Facebook page will not automatically update your news feed with new posts. If you would like receive regular notifications of new posts, join the Facebook group at this link. If you would like to subscribe by email, you can do so at the top of this page.