An Eye for and Eye

“Do not say, “I will repay evil”; wait for the Lord, and he will deliver you.” – Proverbs 20:22 (ESV)

Humans love to take revenge. Whenever we feel wronged by someone else, the desire for revenge becomes an unquenchable thirst. How many times have we caught ourselves plotting ways to make the person who has slighted us suffer?  Such emotions arise out of our sense of justice. It is natural to feel indignant when we have been unfairly mistreated and it is natural to seek redress. Likewise, it is natural to feel enraged by the injustice that seems to plague our world. These things break the heart of God as much as it breaks us; perhaps even more so because He is a just God who cannot bear the presence of injustice in His creation.

However, because of our fallen nature, our pursuit of justice can easily turn into revenge. It is at this point where we forget the other attributes which God has given us such as love, mercy, and compassion. All we want to see is the accused party suffering and squirming under our retribution. Is this attitude right? Often, revenge has an ironic way of making people commit the same acts done against them with as much force and malice. In the manner, the wronged party is no better than the accused. Justice, instead of pursuing the cause of fairness and impartiality, becomes increasingly subjective and unnecessarily harsh. This is why justice should be left to God. He, being by His nature just, is bound to be impartial and He sees that every man has been sinful and deserves death. No one is holier than the other. But in His love, He sent Himself to pay the penalty for sin so that justice may be served and that those who believe in Him may be restored. It is not humanity’s place to take revenge because no man can claim to be a perfect judge. Therefore it is best to wait upon God and He will deal with the offender. He will vindicate the oppressed; there is no question about that. But it is important to remember than even the oppressor needs to hear the message of God’s love, and this should be enough to compel the believer to act with mercy towards those who have hurt them.

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Yearning through the Night

“My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you. When your judgments come upon the earth, the people of the world learn righteousness.” -Isaiah 26:9 (NIV)

I’ve often had sleepless nights. Not out of fear, but usually out of excitement. The promise of a much-anticipated trip or a reunion with an old friend whom I haven’t seen in years is enough to keep me up at night tossing and turning in a futile attempt to make morning come faster. Do I have the same reaction when it comes to spending time with God? Rarely, if never, have I had a night when I was sleepless on account of being excited about reading the Bible. Does this mean that I should? Perhaps. But in His goodness, God has given man the gift of sleep to rest his mortal body. Man is but dust, and I am thankful that I serve a God who understands this well. Besides, I hardly think that God wants His message to be spread by insomniacs. How ineffective a witness that would be for the Christian!

But like all verses in the Bible this one raises a good point. How often do I rush through my morning not stopping to spend time in His Word? I would like to describe myself as someone who pursues righteousness, justice, and truth. But what good is this pursuit without consulting the perfect source from which all these things flow? Can man comprehend the standards God has placed on these qualities? To an extent perhaps, but as with anything man touches, even the most purest of pursuits end up tainted by his sinful nature. It is only through reading God’s Word that the Christian may understand such concepts in their purest form, and interact with them in a way that glorifies God and alleviates the suffering of the world. That alone should keep me up at night.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.