Right after posting “Hope #4” last week, I heard about the Texas church shooting. Crushing. Sure felt like the darkness won that day, and it’s still a struggle. If I hadn’t just written that post about sin and darkness not lasting forever, it would have been even harder to feel hopeful this past week.
So while I do believe that light conquers darkness in an ultimate, eternal sort of way, surely–surely!–somebody has to pay for all this evil! Just like at school, it can feel so GOOD when a kid who has been super naughty finally gets his “comeuppance” (no one says that anymore, but what a great word) and a consequence for his actions has been administered effectively. The buck stops at the principal’s door, and dangerous or disrespectful behavior gets addressed and can actually change for the better, at least some of the time.
When someone is willing to shoot up a concert venue or the children inside a house of worship, or drive down a bicycle path full of cyclists and pedestrians, WHERE IS THE PRINCIPAL? These murderers usually die before they get their comeuppance, and sometimes that even seems like their goal–take as many as they can on their suicide mission. It feels like they get away with murder, literally, and got everything they wanted in the process.
How we want to rage with the Psalmist! We cry out with David, Arise, Lord, in your anger; rise up against the rage of my enemies. Awake, my God; decree justice (Psalm 7:6).
Romans 12:9 tells us that justice–even revenge–is God’s to take. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.
Ecclesiastes 12:14 assures me that nothing that happens goes by unnoticed by God: For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.
What of the leaders who have caused so much angst in our society? God has a word for them, too, from Matthew 18:6. Jesus says, If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.
I guess we can take from all this that we CAN let God worry about giving people their comeuppance. So what should we worry about? Jesus makes that pretty clear, too, but it might be too radical for most of us to handle:
You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous (Matthew 5:43-48, emphases on all these quotes are from http://www.Biblegateway.com).