Vengeance is Mine, Says the Lord

Today I was looking through past notes and I found these thoughts.  They are the culmination of a commencement address at Bethel University and the two debriefing conversations I had with my dad and sister concerning it. Not all the thoughts were originally mine, but I really like how they have come together!

Here’s the question: How can we be people that have the strength to wake up each morning, look in the mirror, and ask ourselves, “How did I become so well adjusted to, complacent about, and comfortable with the injustices in the world?”

The answer starts by recognizing that we are seeing the other and deeming them “less than” us.  When we do so we are committing the same sin as our original parents because you have made the decision to choose what is good and evil and what is right and wrong in the world. (Genesis 3) Our job is not to choose what is good and evil, right and wrong, our job is to to trust what God has said to us about these things.

When God says, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord,” (Romans 12:19) He is declaring that He is the one that gets to choose what is good and evil, what is right and wrong, who is less than and who is greater, and what the consequences should be in all of those situations.  What God asks of us is:

  1. To forgive those around us (as the Lord has forgiven us) who are co-image bearers of God with us. We should stop playing around in the darkness, and go play in the light.  In the darkness we hide and hold grudges against each other.  In the light we openly confess our mistakes and sins and we forgive and are forgiven by others.  Jesus took on the darkness and rescued us from it… we don’t need to go there anymore. (see the letter labeled 1st John in the Bible)
  2. To love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul, and strength.  For the sake of time (and I know that you will more likely listen to someone else than keep reading more from Pastor Dave) I will send you over to the Bible Project guys for a discussion on these ideas… each video is about 4 mins long and together they are shorter than an episode of Stranger Things: watch them here . Check it out when you have time!
  3. And to love our neighbor as ourselves (no matter if they are an “other” or not).

While we should always strive to be ill-adjusted, non-complacent, and uncomfortable concerning the injustice in the world, and therefore we should always be ready to fight against the darkness that is within and around us, we should always remember that the weapons we have been given for this battle are forgiveness and love.  Said differently: if we adopt this stance, we need to remember that the vengeance for the situations that cause us pain should only be dealt with by the all-knowing, all-loving, completely-just, and all-powerful God of the universe; our job is to simply love and forgive.

Are you trying to take on God’s job? Are you doing your job?

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