Vengeance Is Mine (Part 1) Where’s the Love?

I’m not one who sets out to sermonize and preach to or at people, really.  Now . . .  those few of you who really know me, and who probably eat with me on occasion, can quit laughing now . . . seriously.

They way I usually work, is to sit back and wait until God taps me on the shoulder about something in my life, or I notice my behavior is running contrary to how He wants me to be and I start reading and digging.  I witness to people in this manner. I am a constant believer that God will take care of his people, and since I am to rest in Him and let him guide my path, I try to.  Why can’t he lead me and guide me to whom He wants me to talk to? Besides, we all know that things happen on His time table and not ours.

I am also a patterns person.  I pay attention to things that are transpiring around me.  I look at strings of supposed coincidences that start occurring in my life, and take that as a sign.  As Col. Hannibal Smith of the A-Team is fond of saying: “I believe that no matter how random things may appear, there’s still a plan.”  God is in control.

For instance, several people I have spoken to, and recent current events in the media and out of the media spotlight, have brought to my attention, that there is not a lot of compassionate understanding for certain people in our populace.  Nor is there a lot of praying for our enemies and letting God take care of the vengeance part of the equation.  What I have noticed is a lot of hate and animosity.  There is a real vitriolic hatred between people and their ideals, versus others with opposing ideals and thoughts.

For example, I would say currently that the number one target, and understandably so, are our government officials.  I’m not here handing out blame and condemnation, because I am right there with you.  I am merely pointing this out to myself, remember I preach to myself first. So I thought and said, “Self!  Look at what you are doing.  You need to take a look at yourself and check with the Bible, and then if in conflict, change.”  As I said before, there is a lack of forgiveness and understanding.  I see this in my line of work, education.   I see it manifesting itself a lot in our schools. I am seeing a lack of compassion for the situations our students are in.  We want kids and families to be like they were 30 to 40 years ago and they are not.  Whether it is the ‘end times’ or not, our society has set into motion behaviors that are going to require some serious repair.  This is going to take time and a lot of work.

I’ve been working on a song during vocal lessons, called, “Mighty to Save.” If you have not had the pleasure of hearing at least one of the versions out there, here is the beginning of the song.

“Everyone needs compassion
Love that never fails
Let mercy fall on me
Everyone needs forgiveness
The kindness of a Saviour
The hope of nations

Saviour
He can move the mountains
My God is mighty to save
He is mighty to save
Forever
Author of salvation
He rose and conquered the grave
Jesus conquered the grave”

~ Hillsong (Mighty to Save)

I’ll do you one better, I keep forgetting that I can hyperlink things in, so here is the video, enjoy… (You might have to pause it and let it catch up to play all the way through.)

The first line of that song…”Everyone need compassion,” really hit me pretty hard, and should you as well.  Especially since this word has kept coming to me, “compassion,” along with the words, mercy and pity.  Throughout the Old Testament, God speaks of compassion.  In the New Testament, Jesus Christ speaks of his mercy and compassion for those around him.  He calls for us to become like children, and not suffer them to come to him.  Where is our mercy and compassion for not only our brothers, but for those that are not our brothers or sister, and can’t do you or I any good?  As our Lord says, if you do good to only those that do good to you, what have you?  It’s those people that can do nothing for you, or those people that might treat you poorly that will define your compassion.  It’s easy to forgive family and friends.

I’ve always remembered a scene from the movie, “The War.”  Kevin Costner plays a guy returning from the Vietnam war, who has now become a militaristic pacifist.  Elijah Wood stars as his son who will fight, violently if need be, for the right thing every time, much to Costner’s dismay.  Here’s the part though, that has stuck with me.   Costner’s character takes some cotton candy he had bought his family and gives it to the group of kids who have been harassing his son.  The following dialogue takes place.

(Wood) Stu: I hope you know them’s the kids who just beat me up.
(Costner) Stephen: I know who they are son.
(Wood) Stu: Then why’d you give them Ma and Lidia’s cotton candy?
(Costner) Stephen: Because they look like that hadn’t been given anything in a long time.

Yes, there are such things as right and wrong.  Yes, you need to stand up and fight for yourself against being bullied and threatened.  But what happens when you encounter people like this in your own life.  Do you repay those that have wronged you with evil?  Are you passing judgement and meeting out vengeance? Or do we take the path that Christ suggested, and do good letting God, if need be, take revenge for us.  He is the only one that knows the heart and motivations, so he is the only one who can mete out any type of justice.  I sometimes wonder if people really want certain people to change, or do we want those individuals paid back.

Getting back to the song, the next lyric that should give you pause … ”Everyone needs forgiveness.”  When’s the last time you have forgave someone you really hate or have hated? Kindness is rough.  Especially being kind to someone that is not kind to you.  I’m with you on this.  I’m not naïve, nor am I saying that this is easy.  I’ll freely admit to having some issues with doing this.  I challenge us to look at someone, really look at that person as they are and realize that you and I are on the same level with that person.  Each of us is deserving death for our behaviors.

Romans 3:10-12 (NASB)

10as it is written, “THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE; 11THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS, THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD; 12ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME USELESS; THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD, THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE.”

We all know from scripture, that if you are not good according to the standard of God’s law, not just the ten commandments, but the whole book of the law, then you deserved death.  Hence we all need the shed blood of Christ to cover our sins.  There is ‘no one’ that is good.

I could break down this song lyric by lyric, but for the sake of time I will just say that the whole gist of the song is that our Father can do anything.  Jesus came preaching peace and forgiveness.  He hung on the cross talking to God saying, “Forgive them Father, they know not what they do.” He’s in control and He is all powerful.  If He can move mountains, then He can change hearts.  Therefore, my purpose is to take a look at these several thoughts with a biblical perspective, and drag you along with me.  There will be, at the very least, a second part, and probably a third.  Here’s a rundown on what I have in mind.

Part I: Introduction ~ “Where’s the love?” (What you are reading.)

Part II: Hate ~ “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” ~ Yoda

Part III: Wrap Up ~ “Walking by faith, not sight.”

I truly hope you get something from these articles and that they start you asking the same questions when you look in your life – or if you have figured these out, different questions.  I hope everyone is enjoying their summer.

Grace and Peace to you all.

S

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