Vengeance vs long-suffering

I have, on occasion, been an unexpected witness to the struggles of others. Sometimes it is simply a matter of proximity at an inopportune moment. (Think toddler melt-down in the grocery check-out line!) Sometimes it is because I am processing my own issues and questions in the messiness of life, and there’s “collateral damage.”

And sometimes, though I don’t go looking for it, because I have a sympathetic ear and a caring heart, trouble comes to my doorstep. (Let me be clear — I’m not complaining. I’m doing what I’m called to do.)

This week I am struggling with seeing anger and pain in someone’s life. It feels as though it is being acted out in such an angry, vengeful way. That there were wrongs committed — to that there is no question! But what is the “Christian” response? And how do I bring God’s peace and wisdom to the situation?

I wish I knew for certain.

What I do know is that we are not called to vengeance, to commit acts of retaliation, of anger, of self-righteous indignation. We are called to long-suffering and a patient witness of God’s Presence in the unexplainable and unwanted stresses of life. And it seems that we are NOT called to take matters into our own hands, but to allow God to work.

In the situation where I am a watcher, not an actor, in events as they unfold, I feel a strong caution within me. The Bible says that God is the one who judges and punishes, the One who takes vengeance. I must not spew anger with you — much as I am tempted! But I can pray for God’s justice to roll down, and for God’s intervention to be known.

And may it come…. SOON!

Photo credit Society of the Happily Unusual

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