Where are these enemies? Capulet, Montague? See what a scourge is laid upon your hate that heaven finds means to kill your joys with love! …
Whiles Verona by that name is known there shall no figure at such rate be set as that of true and faithful Juliet. …
A glooming peace this morning with it brings. The sun for sorrow, will not show his head. … For never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo.
The ending of Romeo and Juliet is poignant. Actually, it is a three facial tissue finish. People do not leave a good production of Romeo and Juliet with smiles on their face, but with tears in their eyes.
One line near the end caught my eye, and it is in the first line listed above, “… that heaven finds means to kill your joys with love! …”
When we think of heaven’s punishments, we often imagine scourges, plagues, and the Angel of Death. But, we often underestimate heaven’s capabilities to punish, not with suffering but with love. Romeo and Juliet’s story is but one example of love being used to end partisan strife. Unfortunately for Romeo and Juliet, their ending has become a Hollywood trope. I have seen all too many badly written Hollywood stories in which two people fall in love and it brings peace to two warring sides.
As a result, we do miss the fact that even in real life, God can use love to discipline and to bring change. The prime example, of course, is Jesus Christ. But, there are others that are found throughout history. The first Christians demonstrated such a love toward one another and such loving confidence toward God that sometimes the very guards that held them ended up becoming Christians themselves.
We all have read those rare newspaper stories in which a home invasion takes place and the householder meets them with love and stops the home invasion without a hand being raised. And, almost all of us know of one couple who fell in love, but came from opposite sides of the aisle, whether because of race or cultural background. Their marriage ends up changing friends and relatives who otherwise would have remained apart, or even fighting.
God’s discipline need not involve punishment alone. God’s discipline can also be accomplished by love. It is worth remembering.