When we have different perspectives, we view both right and wrong from completely different standpoints. Since this is next to impossible for us as humans to always have the same standpoint, it means that there will always be tension and inconsistency in right and wrong.
Consider this example, whereby somebody has been robbed of their belongings. From their perspective, the thief who robbed them is a despicable, base, and vile person that deserves punishment that comes along with being incarcerated or persecuted in certain communities. From the thief’s perspective however, they have been downtrodden by life itself, and have been robbed from by society and cheated by those charged with seeing to their welfare. They have been debased and dehumanized with no work, no basic shelter and no food. So they steal to maintain the right to live; they want to care for their families the only way they are left with. Granted, this way involves bringing adversity to their fellow men, but they too have suffered adversity and injustice.
I didn’t ever imagine that this example would make me stop and question who is right and who is wrong until I heard a sermon in church on Tamar and Judah. It was the nth time I was listening to it.
Tamar was Judah’s daughter-in-law who had been widowed twice by his two sons. Through evil practices the two brothers had left her with no child to call her own. She seemed doomed to widowhood and to being childless the rest of her life. To make matters worse, the family of Judah negated on their promise to give her in marriage to the youngest brother of the deceased men. The promise they had made to her was broken leaving her completely devastated.
Desperate to have a child and to get her own back, she dressed up as a prostitute and waylaid her father-in-law, Judah. She got what she schemed for and in exchange for the goat for the services, she asked him to leave his staff, signet ring and cord.
She took the staff, ring and cord and kept them safely away. Changes started happening in her body. She began to grow bigger by the day until it became noticeable that she was pregnant. The whole family and community was indignant. How dare she? How could she? This means she had prostituted herself since was a widow. This was too disgraceful. As they prepared to persecute her by burning, she swiftly brought out the staff, ring and cord and sent them to Judah with a message saying that the man to whom these items belonged is the father to her unborn child.
What a turn of events? The “thief” was about to be exonerated. Immediately Judah overturned the death sentence. That is how Tamar brought continuation to Judah’s family line and gained her place as mother when she gave birth to her twins Perez and Zerah. Blessing was added to her when Perez is identified in the lineage of King David.
In conclusion, we will ordinarily hang the thief or the prostitute for what they do, as being wrong yet it is to get their own backs. Tamar had schemed deviously but from her perspective she felt she just had to do it. Was right? Was she justified?