When our interpretation of religious beliefs becomes so warped that taking life is considered honouring to God, something has gone seriously wrong. Once again this week we have seen the tragic consequences of this played out on the streets of London, with the senseless killing and maiming of too many innocent people.
Speaking in a different time and context Jesus issued a challenge to those whose interpretation of religious rules caused harm, saying to them, “Which is lawful… to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?1” Such a measure must surely be the yardstick by which we know whether a particular action is inspired by God or not; and that is certainly the measure by which Jesus – whom the Bible describes as the “image of the invisible God2” – lived his life.
As the events of this week’s atrocity played out, the image of God was not seen in the warped actions of a terrorist seeking to serve his understanding of God, but rather in the selfless actions of those who tried to stop him and those who rushed to help the injured.
As Jesus said it must always be right and Godly to save life rather than destroy it.