Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Vengeance is Mine…

“Rejoice not when your enemy falls, and when he stumbles, let not your heart exult, lest the Lord see it, be displeased with you, and withdraw his wrath from your enemy.” Proverbs 24: 17-18

Let’s be real honest today, ok? Sometimes it is just plain HARD to be a Christian and to live up to the ideals and way of life that Christ has set before us, isn’t it? Love our enemies? Pray for those who persecute us? Return curses with blessings? Turn the other cheek? How are these things possible? Especially in today’s world.

Let’s face it, the hardest part of trusting God is when it comes to His mercy and justice. If we truly follow the teachings of Jesus, then when someone hurts us it is the ultimate amount of trust to believe that God will handle the situation and that whatever the offender deserves, they will get. But are we really prepared to accept that the person who hurt us can be shown mercy by God? Can we accept that God loves them just as much as He loves us? Whether that be a bully on the playground, a stalker in high school or a terrorist? Or do we truly believe that only the “good” are worthy of God’s mercy? If this is true, then first of all, it isn’t mercy and secondly, we don’t deserve it either because none of us are “good” all the time.

It is easy when we have been hurt, either as an individual, a family or even a nation, to rejoice and exult when we see our enemy fall, stumble or be put to death. But this is not the way of the Lord. Does justice need to be carried out in our lives, in our families and in our world? Yes. But when someone is being punished there is an evil associated with rejoicing as that person is punished. There is something that hits us deep down inside with guilt and disgust when we see people cheering at an execution, or dancing in the streets because someone is going to jail, or even when we see one sibling happy because another is being spanked or put in time out. While punishments do need to be meted out from time to time, there is no need to be happy about it. We should be sad that they had to happen in the first place.

We need to see people and situations through the eyes of Christ, with eternal vision, and not with the limited, temporal sight our limited minds offer us. We need to trust that He knows the hearts of all people and that He is in control of all situations and that His mercy and justice will be handed out with infinite fairness based on what HE knows and not on what we know. And when we do need to issue temporal justice or punishment, may our hearts be burdened with the solemnity of the act, not enraptured with a sense of joy at the pain or demise of another.

Dear Jesus, some days it is really, really hard to follow You, think like You, and act like You. Sometimes it is easier to act on my own sense of justice then to trust in Your justice and mercy. Grant me the grace today, and all days, to respond to the world around me with Your love and with Your peace. Amen.


  1. Scott,

    Thanks for this -- It is challenging, counter-cultural and full of truth. I have little to add except the following: that while not trying to second guess the decisions that another, very brave, person needs to make in a split minute of decision, I would none the less argue that whether someone who was shot was armed, apparently armed, or whether orders were to kill on site or to capture are NOT insignificant details - but may be some of the most important details.

    Christ's PEACE to you! Chris

  2. Thanks Scott. We have discussed the recent death of Osama and how we don't feel the joy and excitement as others have shown. It just felt wrong-to be happy with the death of a human life. It is great how you address this issue of who we are called to be. Leaving God to hand out justice and mercy as He knows it should is truly trusting. Living with the temporal justice/punishment/consequences do burden us. Hopefully leading us closer to Christ in our choices for all we do. The enemy boasts in trying to give us a false sense of security, happiness, and fulfillment in times of trial, as well as assumed successes. Lord, we beg you to open our hearts to be trusting in Your justice and mercy for us and others. And to help us with life's decisions in hopes they lead us closer to You.