This now famous line from Shakespeare’s Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet has echoed through the halls of modern world history. A lesson therein for our own time now pleads for our attention.
At one point in the play, caught between two feuding houses, Mercutio condemns both sides with a curse upon their petty violence. Proud, selfish, and deeply offended, the conflict stems from a perceived injustice both families believe they have suffered. Blinded by their own passion and keen conviction of the ‘moral high ground’, Romeo and Juliet eventually bring disaster upon their houses and the ones they love the most; including each other.
Today, while the conflict is very different, the ‘houses’ of our world (political, societal, judicial, economic, and empirical) are once again at war; in love with ideals as romantic, vapid and destructive as the timeliness tale of Romeo and Juliet itself.
Like Mercutio, the reasoned and wise stand back aghast at what is happening, and appalled at senseless and silly ideological and practical wars. The evidence for this lies in where we now find ourselves in the modern era; upset, unhinged, and convinced that nothing should stand in the way of our crusades for ‘justice’ and the fulfillment of our basest desires.
Though now we laugh at Romeo and Juliet’s foolishness, it is likely that if they were real people alive today, they would laugh at us and despair that somehow we have missed the lesson of their great failure, and the failure of their houses; namely that plagues await a world at war with itself.
Today, our plagues
Today, our plague or ‘plagues’ are not just ideological, but ‘actual’; Covid has free run around the world and now we hear of a possible plague mark 2; ‘Monkey Pox’. The tectonic plates of the old-World Order are shaking and war is abroad overseas in Ukraine. Economies are crumbling, world trade and oil is in trouble, natural disasters are a nightly-news staple, crime is skyrocketing and new problems never seen before are suddenly arising.
Whether we believe those rising waves of trouble are from God or not is in one sense irrelevant; the obvious fact remains for all to see; ‘plagues’ are coming against every ‘house’ and corner of the earth. If these plagues were a person, they would be Mercutio crying out in exasperation against us just as he did to Romeo and Juliet; ‘A plague on both your houses!’
It’s unlikely that the plagues of our time have come upon us because of policy failures, random weather of societal events, or because certain ‘houses’ of our world have become stronger or more influential than others. The world has gone through countless cycles of prosperous or troubled times, not to mention ‘epic’ human failure, but rarely have we seen such a global confluence of misfortune and storm as we see now.
If the plagues of our time are in fact from God, it behoves us to understand the Biblical reason why that may be the case, so we can do something beyond bemoan an otherwise avoidable present and future ‘doom and gloom’.
In the Old Testament, plagues broke out when the people of earth rejected their Creator in favour of doing what was right in their own eyes. In Noah’s time, this resulted in a world filled with violence and chaos. To match this, God sent a violent flood to wash their own wicked world ‘disorder’ away.
Throughout biblical history, God repeated similar acts of discipline and judgment upon both His own house and people, and other wicked nations around the world. These were times when God Himself seemed to cry out to all—"A plague on both your houses!”
Yet thankfully He didn’t leave humanity in that dreadful place of their own failure and self-inflicted plague of sin and rebellion. In due time God sent His Son Jesus Christ into the world to bring light to our darkness, and an answer of grace where before we had stood condemned and at war both with ourselves and the rest of the human race.
Where once the plague of sin seemed undefeatable and victorious, now we have the answer; true faith towards God and repentance for turning our backs on His Son Jesus. Now we can look to the cross where Jesus took every plague of God’s wrath we deserved. Our feud against God and God’s feud against us can now be reconciled and resolved forever; we only need turn to Jesus and we will be healed!
The answer to the outward plagues of our time lies in recognising the greater inward plague of sin our world now suffers under. Great global healing will result in recognising and accepting God’s answer to our spiritual plagues. Persistent attempts to implement our own solutions like Romeo and Juliet will continue to end in disaster. This is because our own sense of justice isn’t enough; we must accept the Just solution God provided in His Son; if we do, He will bless the houses of our world instead of plaguing them.
Tim is currently a youth pastor in California. He loves God and has a heart to see people know Jesus and His will for their lives, and the time they’re living in.
Tim Price’s previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/tim-price.html