scorpion

It’s so fun, isn’t it, to discover how far we fall short of what God requires of us.

Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect, Jesus said (Matthew 5:48). 1

Oh, my.

Well, it is fun in a way, because we know we can fall on our knees and ask for forgiveness for that falling-shortness. God knows our weaknesses, our shortcomings. Our sins.

In the last post, I brought up how difficult it is to love people and that we needed to ask for the Lord’s help to do this. In this article, I may as well begin my telling you how the following aspect of God’s love has me standing outside of it and saying, “I am so very far from this truth.”

Here is the truth to which I refer. Paul wrote in Romans 12:17–21, “Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, as far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’ To the contrary, ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Ok, let’s sort through these verses.

“Repay no one evil for evil…”

That is my default response to someone who has done me dirty. Even if I am able to forget, forgive, and move on, I may continue to have thoughts about how justice should be done to them—through me, of course. I must fight my way through those thoughts, praying, asking for help.

“Live peaceably with all,” Paul wrote next, which follows naturally if the Lord tells us we shouldn’t go around repaying evil for evil. Not much peace there.

Then Paul helps us understand why we shouldn’t seek our own revenge. “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God…”

Right. But seriously. Where’s the satisfaction in that?

Didn’t the Lord ever watch a Mel Gibson movie? That’s justice, baby.

Psalm 37:28 says, “For the LORD loves justice; he will not forsake his saints.”

The Lord loves justice. He will not forsake His saints.

But I love justice. Not God’s justice. My justice.

The Lord knows I would rather take my way over His. So, to strengthen this truth, He says He will not forsake me, one of His saints.

It appears I don’t really believe that. Otherwise, I wouldn’t seek my own justice.

The simple truth is that I love my justice. God’s justice just isn’t…satisfying.

And then, of course, as I’m dealing with my falling-shortness, Paul just has to bring up that instead of taking vengeance myself, I’m actually supposed to give my enemy food and drink, thus overcoming evil with good.

In the heat of the moment—or the days or weeks to follow—I really don’t want to do that. I’d like to heap some other substances on my enemy’s head.

Shows you how “good” I am.

This is one of God’s cures—there are others—for those of us who are prone to self-righteousness, who think we have this following-Jesus thing pretty well buttoned up.

This truth pushes me to believe that the Lord, someday, somehow, some way, will deliver the required justice, which He loves to do and which will be good and right—in His own time. It’s very possible I—and maybe everyone in some way or another—must wait until after we leave the earth to see justice done. I must believe this will be good, righteous judgment, since it will be God who will be making all things right on that great and terrible day.

Do I believe He will do that?

I’m working on it.

 

 

1The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

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