“Guilty!”—that’s my plea and I’m ashamed of it. When it comes to feelings of revenge for injustices, I’ve often said,”I feel like the Dirty Harry of preachers. They say, “confession is good for the soul” and I’m sure that’s right, but it’s also very painful at times. I’m glad the Bible says,”Be ye angry”–we need that imperative, it’s the “sin not” part that gives me trouble. We are often tempted to lash-out, fight-back, get-even, etc. when some injustice is done. “It’s not fair!” we often say, and we’re usually right. It’s our response that is often wrong.
An example of this is found in this recent statement by Quanell X regarding a “not guilty” verdict in the Andrew Blomberg trial. He said,”I think the community has the right to voice their displeasure however they see fit, and whatever the community response is, I believe it’s appropriate”. WRONG! That’s the last thing we need at a time like this. Really Mr. X?–“however they see fit, and whatever the community response is—appropriate”? You’ve got to be kidding! Seems like I remember some responses that involved rioting, looting, beatings, and arson. Is that what you’re advocating? That doesn’t sound very just to me. My mama taught me,”Two wrongs don’t make a right”.
It isn’t my purpose to discuss the jurors “not guilty” verdict in this article, but to address the problem of seeking revenge. I can think of many instances where, in my opinion, justice wasn’t served ( O. J. comes to mind), but that doesn’t give us the right to respond as we “see fit”. What if everyone did that? We live in a fallen world. Confusion and corruption is everywhere we look and much worse than we know–we just see the tip of the ice-berg. Innocent people often get hurt and the bad guys often seem to come out on top. We see this in all walks of life—government, military, law enforcement agencies, courts, and even in churches. And, it’s very disappointing.
Like most people, my initial reaction to injustice is to desire revenge. Although restrained by the law and the fear of punishment, my feelings are not always such as they should be. I often have to admit that I am guilty. I also have to ask for help in dealing with these ill-feelings. In doing that, the best thing I can do is to remind myself of what God said and did.
Regarding what He said, there is no better portion of God’s word than Romans 12:17-19,”Recompense no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” None of us have the right to ignore this command.
Concerning what He did, I’m reminded of Romans 5:8,”But God commendeth his love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Isn’t that amazing? It helps me in dealing with the injustices of others to be reminded of my own sinfulness and the fact that God loves me unconditionally. Am I not to love others as Christ loved me? If I do there is then no place for revenge.
As a Christian I have an obligation to “take wrong” and allow myself “to be defrauded”(1 Cor. 6:7), to forgive as I’ve been forgiven (Eph. 4:32), and to try to “live peaceably with all men”(Rom. 12:18). It’s not easy. We can’t do it without God’s help, but God’s will is always right, best, and safest. You can respond to injustice “however” you see “fit”, but you had better remember that there are consequences for doing so. Doing wrong just makes matters worse. There is already far too many cases of injustice without you adding to it by seeking revenge. When you disobey God you are just as sinful as the person who wronged you. What gives you the right to condemn them? Since I am not God, I best leave that to Him. He gets it right every time. Instead of getting angry because others mistreated us we ought to think about our offense against God. Talk about injustice all you please, I’ll tell you what is really unjust–our disobedience to God. That’s as unfair as it gets. Think about it!