Recently I was talking to a friend of mine about how gut wrenching it was to have a difficult conversation, and I related how difficult it was to cause them pain. In an attempt to comfort me they said they had 3 questions they ask themselves before doing something that could hurt someone. Their first question was if it was necessary. Their second question was about the origin of my motivation. Their final question was if I had prayed about it first.
I found this very reassuring because I had the right answer to each. A problem had risen to the point that it was consuming too much of my time, making my life harder than necessary and creating a desire in me that I knew to not be holy or wise. As we continued to talk he noted that more and more he is hearing that people just don’t care about causing undue pain, they were always concerned with what was in their own interest, not in the other person, or even caring what the consequences might be.
One of my goals in life has been to not bring undue harm to any other being. This is a very delicate topic, especially when one considers the fact that I am a proud hunter and fisherman. When I was being taught to hunt there were two things made very clear by the man and his sons that took me hunting in college. The rules at the ranch were very clear, “You will eat anything that you kill”, and “If you shoot, you aim to kilI”. It was often explained that animals can feel pain but aren’t able to comprehend the reason. For this reason it is of the highest importance to make their suffering as short as possible.
After these lessons I was given a gun, showed how to handle it safely, how to shoot, and finally what it meant to take a life. I had spent weeks going to the ranch firing and missing, and being frustrated when others got birds and I did not, and then having to do the cleaning(as a right of passage). Finally I got my first kill, I had an immediate rush of excitement followed immediately with regret. As I walked up to the wounded animal, I started to cry and understood perfectly what I had to do next and why. I had to end its suffering, I wanted to take back the shot, undo the damage and pain and suffering but I could not. The only other way to end the suffering was kill the bird and I did so. When I did I felt weirdly guilty and proud, proud that I knew that I could be self reliant but guilty about taking a life. As time has passed and I have continued to hunt I have held the ideal of not causing undue harm in high regard.
As my father had always told me, everyone who wants a gun should be made to go hunting until they kill something. It is the only way to gain a true understanding of what it means to hurt something, to kill something, and why life has such sanctity and needs to be treated with great respect. I learned on that day why. As I have continued through life I have come across those that enjoy spreading pain, and wonder what happened that made them so miserable that they felt they need to share it by causing more.
In the same way I will not cause pain without
allowing something new to be born,” says the Lord.
God often causes pain, but only when necessary as is shown all throughout the old and new testament, when people had gone too far astray from his plan for them. In my recent studies it has been made apparent that so often when we wonder the why for all the hurt in the world we have no further to look than our culture, and at times myself, as I often see the ripple that my mistakes have created.
“‘No,’ he replied, ‘you’ll uproot the wheat if you do.
Let both grow together until the harvest.
Then I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds,
tie them into bundles, and burn them – Matthew 13:29-30
Some wonder why God does not simply step in and remove the “weeds” from our lives. But what if he did? How sure are you that you are producing spiritual fruit, and not like the weeds that are false wheat? Simply because those who may seem like weeds may eventually grow to bear fruit and it is not our place to judge them as they are on a different path from us.
As I personally want to be considered to be the wheat I choose to follow the ideal of not causing undue pain, because while undue pain is worthless pain still has its place. Pain stimulates us to change in large and small ways, making it a sad but necessary fact in all our lives. But it always sucks to be the person that brings that pain on to another, and rightly it should. All I can do day in and day out is my best to make sure that I have to a infrequently as possible by learning from when I have created pain.