We Do It To Ourselves
Most of us have heard about the times when a boxer knocks himself out in the ring or when a war plane is shot down by his own gunfire or when a submarine is destroyed by its own wandering torpedo. They’re all urban legends, right? No, it’s all true and not so uncommon.
For instance, in October 1938, a once promising heavyweight boxing contender, Jack Doyle, scored a two-round knockout in his fight with Eddie Phillips. The problem was he scored it against himself. A looping shot missed his opponent and bopped him in the head. He knocked himself unconscious, fell through the ropes, and landed next to the timekeeper, who dutifully counted him out.
Henry Walitsch, one-time heavyweight contender, did something similar in his fight with Bartolo Soni in their 1959 bout. As the two fighters came out of a clinch, Walitsch threw a powerful left hook at his opponent. When the punch missed, it put Walitsch into a spin and he fell through the ropes onto the concrete floor, knocking him out cold. He came to, but not before the referee counted him out.
Then there are the war machines that destroy themselves with their own weapons. This happened in 1979 when a Spanish Air Force fighter was shot down when, in a training exercise, rounds it had fired into a hillside ricocheted back into his aircraft. The HMS Trinidad nearly sank itself in 1941, when a torpedo it fired made a return trip and blasted into its engine room. It sat out the rest of the war in dry dock. But most tragic was the destruction of the USS Scorpion in 1968. After extensive investigation, Dr. John Craven concluded that one of the Scorpion’s Mark 37 torpedoes activated while in the tube. In an emergency safety effort ship’s crewmen released the torpedo which accidentally armed itself and honed in on its nearest target – the Scorpion.
When punches, bullets, or torpedoes make return trips the results are devastating. Unfortunately, the words we speak and the deeds we do to others tend to make return trips as well. God seems to have designed it to be so. Consider the words of Scripture, “The wicked draw the sword and bend the bow to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose ways are upright. But their swords will pierce their own hearts, and their bows will be broken” (Psalm 37:14-15). Those were the words of the aged King David, who had witnessed life in all its cycles and revolutions. He concluded that what we do and say will come back to bless or to curse us. Therefore, we are commanded to bless and not to curse (Romans 12:14) and to forgive rather than to judge (Matthew 6:14-15). “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Matthew 7:2).
So, what kinds of words and deeds would you like to boomerang back to you? That’s why Jesus said, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12).
PRAYER: Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon; Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope; Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console; To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive; It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.