I'm struggling with the killing of Osama bin Laden. As most of you know a very important part of my spiritual formation took place among the Anabaptists and I am a pacifist by faith. I also truly believe pacifism works. The immediate response to someone who espouses non-violence is usually something like "they're trying to kill us," or "who will protect the innocent?" as if taking up arms means that nobody on your side dies and the innocent are spared! Violence begets violence. Non-violence opens new possibilities.
This little parable comes back to me often when I think of such times as today...
It was rainy season and a holy man was sitting under a tree in prayer. Nearby a scorpion was cut off on a small mound of dirt, surrounded by the rising waters. As the holy man watched he realized that the scorpion would drown if he didn't act to save it. So, he got up and reached towards the scorpion, which tried to sting him. This happened a number of times while the water continued to rise.
A man who was watching spoke to the holy man, "You're going to get stung if you keep trying to save that scorpion. Don't you know that it is in the nature of the scorpion to sting?"
The holy man smiled and responded, "Don't you know that it is my nature to preserve life? Why should I allow the evil nature of the scorpion to cause me to abandon my good nature?"