Right in the Eye: A Story Rarely Told

Do what you want wherever, whenever, and with whoever you want to – that is our society’s concept of freedom. After all, as long as there’s nobody getting hurt, it’s all good, right? Unfortunately, if you follow that twisted notion of freedom, people will get hurt – including you.

You may find that hard to believe, but it’s true. To show that doing anything and everything according to how you see them fit is wrong. Here’s a story they don’t teach often in a Christian church, be it in Dubai or anywhere else in the world.

A Levite and His Concubine

This is a story in the Bible that is written in Judges 19-21.

There was a time in the Old Testament when Israel had no king. They had no state laws or a leader to obey. And in those times, there was a Levite who lived in Ephraim together with his concubine, who came all the way from Bethlehem in Judah, a country that Israel didn’t have good relations at that time.

The Levite’s concubine was unfaithful, so she went back to her family in Bethlehem, and after four months the Levite went after her to get her back. On the day they left, however, they began their journey quite late into the day already, so they were forced to stay in the town of Gibeah for the night. Nobody wanted to take them in at first, save an old man from Ephraim.

Unfortunately, some wicked men wanted to make the Levite feel unwelcome by pounding on the door of the old man’s house. Concerned, the old man told them to stop and offered his own daughter and the Levite’s concubine; he told them that he can do anything they want to with the two as long as they don’t harm the Levite, and so they did. They abused her the entire night, and come morning light she arrived at the door of the old man’s house, where she died.

Outraged by his concubine’s death, he sent a letter to the eleven tribes of Israel, telling them what happened. To make a statement, he sent the letters together with severed parts of his concubine’s body. In response, the eleven tribes sent armed envoys to Gibeah, asking their leaders to give up the perpetrators. They refused, so war broke between Gibeah and the eleven tribes of Israel. The latter lost for two days, but on the third day, as vengeance, they burned down the cities as well as the other cities of Benjamin, effectively wiping out the tribe – or so the eleven tribes thought.

Realizing that what they did was wrong and discovering that there were 600 men who remained from the tribe of Benjamin – soldiers who were able to escape the conflict, the eleven tribes decided to repopulate the Benjamites by giving them the women of Jabesh-Gilead, a town that was supposed to be put to death for failing to assemble before the Lord in Mizpah.

A Bloody History, A Destructive Reality

So, what was the point of telling you an obscure and brutal biblical story? Because it’s the perfect example of what happens when people do whatever they want to whenever, wherever, and with whoever they want to – pain and destruction abounds.

Think about it; the ones who advocate such a paradigm are the privileged – people whose lives won’t reel so much from wrong decisions. Your parents, teachers, boss, and other regular folk, especially those who are concerned for your welfare, would never tell you this. Why? Because at the very least, it never helps, and at worst, it harms. After all, there are many things we do with wanton disregard for others in the name of freedom, and it hurts them. And then there are things we do that although do not harm others, harm a very important person: you.

There are many things you can do to yourself, especially awful ones, that you think won’t affect others. Except they do. But why and how? Because people care about you – your friends, family, and God. Doing things that do not affect others but at the same time harm you in the long run makes them worry and hurts them.

We do not live for and by ourselves alone. Therefore, in everything that we do, we should always think of the consequences. After all, our actions, regardless of how big or small they are, affect everyone.


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