Merely to resist evil with evil by hating those who hate us and seeking to destroy them, is actually no resistance at all. It is active and purposeful collaboration in evil that brings the Christian into direct and intimate contact with the same source of evil and hatred which inspires the acts of his enemy. It leads in practice to a denial of Christ and to the service of hatred rather than love.
- Thomas Merton from Passion For Peace
MLK, Jr. writes on a similar theme in "Ways of Meeting Oppression." I'm reading a terrific book right now written by an MK from Papua. Her parents worked with the Fayu, a group caught in a vicious cycle of revenge that was decimating the population. Basically, if someone died, then their family killed someone from the clan that their "murderer" was from. Sometimes the first death was an actual murder, but other times it was a natural death from disease or something that the Fayu blamed on a curse. Of course, this revenge killing then had to be avenged from the other side. The author's family showed the Fayu another way. For example, one time a Fayu man stole some food from their family. In Fayu culture, he then had the right to shoot a an arrow at this person. Instead, her father walked over to the youth, embraced him, and gave him a piece of the meat he had stolen.
I wish that not only individuals but also nations would look for alternative ways of reacting to violence. (Alternative from the world's viewpoint, not God's.) For example, it would be something if the next president of the United States returned all of the prisoners at Guatanamo to their families with the following apology:
"Mothers, I am sorry we kept your sons away from your warmth and comfort. I am a mother and I know that you have suffered. Fathers, I am sorry that we took your sons from you. I have a father, so I know that you have suffered. Wives, I am sorry that you have had to be as widows. I am a wife and I know that you have suffered. Children, I am sorry that your fathers have missed out on your growing up. I have children and I was a child, and I know that you have suffered."
(This is not a vote for Hilary. This is from my perspective.) Wouldn't it be a