You Must Not Hurt People

You Must Not Hurt People October 30, 2018


I want to be absolutely clear about something.

It is a sin to hurt people.

There are many issues we can disagree on and it’s not a matter of sin, but not this one of them. It simply is a sin to deliberately hurt people.

If you have, with reasonable thought and not through paranoia, come to the rational conclusion that you or someone you are responsible to protect are in danger and have to deflect the attack, you can do so with the minimum necessary force. That’s legitimate. You must not act directly to hurt people as a precaution in case they put you in danger later, or in order to teach them a lesson, or in order to teach their parents a lesson, or because you dislike them, or because it’s good for your bottom line or someone else’s. These are always sins.  It does not matter how many experts insist it will be good for prosperity or stem the tide of financial ruin. There’s no economic exception to this rule. There’s no “All’s fair in love and war” exception, and certainly no “I’m a lovable heel just doing what we all wanted to deep inside” exception. There is no “politics are rotten anyway and we might as well act like it” exception and no “someone has to make the hard choices” exception.  It’s always a sin.

It is a sin to hurt the refugee who comes to you for help– whether this is a figurative refugee like your next door neighbor or a friend who needs help, or a literal refugee approaching your country’s border. You are allowed to have just laws and boundaries because of legitimate safety concerns, but you’re not allowed to abuse that person. You must not send soldiers with guns to kill a poor migrant in flip flops pushing their baby in a stroller to ask you for help. This is not the deflection of a legitimate threat with minimum necessary force; this is a sin. You must not kidnap their children and torment them in inhumane prisons or send them away to be raised by foster parents in order to teach them a lesson. This is, at minimum, punishing children for the trespasses of their parents and it is a sin.

You must not strip a human being of their rights because they’re not white, or because they’re not powerful, or because it will teach their parents a lesson for coming here illegally. You cannot technically take rights away in the first place because rights proceed from the kind of being a human person is, not something extrinsic like where they were born or what laws a country has. But it’s certainly possible to disregard a person’s rights, acting as if you have the power to take them away, and you must not do this. You must not act as if to strip away their rights and put them in danger, such as by denying them citizenship because of who their parents were. Not if you feel you’re powerful enough to do it illegally and not if you can find a way to do it legally, according to earthly laws. Not if they’re pre-born, elderly, disabled, mentally ill, a different religion, a different skin color, the children of immigrants, doing something that’s against our religion, having an experience you don’t understand or anything else. It remains sin every time. A human is a human with intrinsic rights.

All Christians and all men and women of goodwill must speak out against sins like these. We must do everything in our power to protect the victims of these sins, in Christ’s name and in the name of human decency.

This has nothing to do with whether you’re a conservative or a liberal, with your views on how economics works, your personal convenience or with any other earthly thing. This is a matter of life and death, the life and death of your soul. You are committing a sin worthy of eternal damnation if you act to abuse your brothers and sisters who are helpless. This is true no matter who is in power and no matter what the law of the land states. It is the duty of the Christian to obey God rather than men, and God is hidden in your neighbor.

I don’t know what’s going to happen in the coming days and years. No one does. But I know that God remains God and His laws are everlasting. You must not hurt people.

(image via Pixabay) 



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