(NEWSER) – A dispute between teens ended in tragedy last weekend, when one high school senior punched another—who never got up after falling to the ground. Victim Jarom Thomas, 18, was with friends at a cabin on Lake Roesiger, Wash., on Saturday night when, witnesses say, Thomas accidentally backed into a car the suspect, another 18-year-old whom KING5 is not naming, was sitting in. After an argument, Thomas agreed to let the suspect hit him to settle things, KING5 reports. They shook hands and smoked a cigarette together first, but after the suspect hit Thomas, Thomas fell backward and hit his head on the pavement. The unconscious teen later died at a hospital, and the suspect was arrested and faces possible manslaughter charges, the Seattle Times reports.
This is a desperately sad story. Somehow, this ill conceived plan to settle the score made sense to these young men.
Conflict resolution needn’t be lethal. But so often our human attempts at quelling conflict are just that—maybe not physically, as in this case, but lethal just the same. When we fight for our own justification, we do damage not only to those upon whom we exact vengeance, but we do damage to our own spirits as well.
God calls us to peace, not vengeance and retribution.
“Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’ To the contrary, ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:17-21, ESV).