Ever heard that a guy who got an electric strike from a wire could not let go? I think it’s because of the muscle cramps due to the shock. The best way to help him is either to turn off the power or to separate him with an insulated stick. Somebody that does not know about electric power would see nothing but a suffering person and in order to help, he would try to drag him away from the wire. Thus he will also get shocked. Is this guy stupid? Naive? Or a saint that tries to help, regardless of the consequences?
Ever heard that a girl who has stolen some money got chased and beaten by a mob, led by their chief armed with a stick? I think it’s because of a lack of faith in law enforcement and believe in old customs. The best way to help this girl may be to call the police or another reliable authority. Somebody that does not know wether about these practices nor about available secular powers would see nothing but a suffering person and in order to help, he would try to seperate her from the crowd. Thus he will also be in charge for the supposed crime. Is this guy stupid? Naive? Or a saint that tries to help, regardless of the consequences?
Whereas in the first case both guys get harmed or die without any further questions, the second case can get complicated. In some regions the thief and his supporter would have been killed immediatly, too. In other places there is at least room for discussion. Clearly the authority of the chief has been disrespected. But hasn’t the crowd disrespected the right of security of person claimed in the constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? Has there even been an independent investigation? What to say if the chief tells that he is aware about those agreements but they don’t count in this case? Somehow he is right, because in fact there is no reliable enforcement available to help them with their issues. But does that mean to take the law in your own hands especially in a way that is against common sense and thus against the message of the gospel?
If most of the participants believe in the effectiveness of the traditional customs, after all negotiations there remain only two options: Either somebody pays the supposed debts of the thief or the men in charge will take care of getting the money back. What could only mean more torture to the delinquent.
So what to do if the responsibility is put in your hands? Follow the advice of the locals to give them the girl? Or pay the absurd high price requested?
If you stick to your belief in fundamental human rights and the gospel they are based upon, and there is no secular authority to appeal to, there could only be one answer. And if the Almighty takes care, the unrighteous are going to suffer.
Let the future tell the truth, and evaluate each one according to his work and accomplishments. The present is theirs; the future, for which I have really worked, is mine. (Nikola Tesla)