A time to kill and heal

Is this the river of life
or death?  Both? Both.

Wendell Berry, Sabbaths 2002, VI

St Geprge and the dragon

St George and the dragon, Raphael

A time for killing and a time for healing
There is a time for everything under the sun.

Active words

What time would there be for killing?   Surely every time is a time for healing.

I am uncomfortable with this phrase. It is too fierce.  There is a time to kill?  It does not sound right.  However I could not find in any Bible translation any other word than 'kill'.  I am more comfortable with Jesus the healer, the wisdom giver.

So if I look more closely what do I find that Jesus killed?  He allowed others to kill him.  He killed and confronted: Pretension in others; he attacked hypocrisy, intentionally stirred up conflict.  What might we have to kill? - A toxic relationship; a bad habit; unhealthy addictions; disease; a jealous love?

In contemplative words we are more used to ‘passive’ terms*: relinquishment, allowing, letting go. (Or at first glance seem passive – I am not saying these are easy processes).  But to kill is fierce, active, and intentional.  Killing and healing – active words –a first half of life energy?  Richard Rohr writes that the work of the first half of life is to ‘fight the devil’, for those in the second half of life we must remember there is a time for this!

Both words

Our bodies actively attack disease; our white blood cells surround and destroy.

(So) there is a time to kill
And a time to heal.

There is both: ‘Mercy triumphs over Justice’, the underlying purpose of God is, I believe, to heal, so I believe the purpose of killing is to bring about healing.  These things are linked, sometimes before healing comes something must die.

Time for action?

There is a time to take action. 

A time then, to kill.  I ask myself, to kill what?  And I listen out for it that I may act.

And a time then, to heal.  I ask myself, to heal what? And I listen out for it that I may act.

Kirsty Hook