vengeance is whose?
Open Your Bible
Jeremiah 20:1-18, Psalm 140:12, Isaiah 10:1-4
Text: Jeremiah 20:1-18, Psalm 140:12, Isaiah 10:1-4
I know that the Lord will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and will execute justice for the needy.
– Psalm 140:12
I like quiet. I have four small children, three of whom are boys, and I really like quiet. Everything about my boys is loud. Even the way they breathe seems unnecessarily loud. I say unsteady things to my husband like, “The children are making me nervous.” Honestly, I don’t even 100% enjoy the sound of children laughing.
Since I’m the boss, I mandate a lot of quiet time. Those children want to yell? Fine, I’ll make them pay by not speaking for a week. They deserve it because they are disrupters of my peace.
Ok, but here’s the thing. I am the loudest person in my house. Seriously. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I get excited when I talk, sing a lot, clank around in the kitchen, and holler up the stairs. You know how some women are wonderful and soft spoken? Yeah, I think they’re wonderful, too.
So, when my little boys wake me up at 5:30am by kicking the walls and shouting, I think, “VENGEANCE IS MINE!” And I send those little stinkers outside to wake up the neighborhood instead. But what I forget is how my family and friends forgive me all the time for doing the same thing. I make a lot of noise. It’s pretty hypocritical for me to keep this double standard.
In Psalm 140:12, David says, “You have no right to ask for justice when you are an oppressor.” Oh no! In my house, I am the oppressor! Sure, it’s my job to train and discipline these little people, and I would be wrong to let them run wild. But in my little sphere of authority, I’m a volume tyrant. I’m the only one who is allowed to be loud.
I love the idea of international justice. Goodness, I love widows and orphans, right? But big, sexy international justice has to begin with boring, everyday justice in my home. (And, as those with feet on the ground for international justice know, it is hardly glamorous.)
If I am going to dream big about international justice, I need to stop being an oppressor myself.
How can we begin to seek and live out justice in our own lives? We must see our own sin for what it is: not a difference of opinion, or an innocent mistake, or a personal right. Rather, it is a rank offense to God. Our double standard is the very thing that put Christ on the cross. It isn’t innocent at all.
Only when we see the horror of our sin, and the grace of a God who loves us in spite of it, can we begin to know what God’s vision of justice really is. This thought makes me quiet and grateful. And when my heart stops shouting about vengeance, I can hear God remind me that “Vengeance is MINE!” (Romans 12:19). Not Rebecca’s petty vengeance. God’s vengeance. And goodness, aren’t we glad?