"Vengeance is Mine" Says the Lord

As many of you know, I am a Patriots/Red Sox/ Celtics fan, which means that over the years I have longed for payback against the Giants/ Yankees/ Lakers et al. This is human, and we recognize it in ourselves. But of course sports are supposed to be play, a zone for catharsis of emotions we should elsewhere suppress.

What is the Biblical attitude to vengeance? It belongs to God! (Deuteronomy 32:35). We all share in a desire for it, but this is sinful. As the community of the redeemed we are being taught to love and pray for our enemies, slow though the schooling be (Romans 12:19).

What follows from this? We as Christians cannot accept or applaud a politician or platform focussed on vengeance. It is a theological non sequitur. Maybe the leader who claims this as his campaign motto is being honest, but he is being honest about moral wrong.

Vengeance is God’s, but He is a God of costly mercy, who summons us to be His agents of reconciliation between those formerly hostile. Though hard, this is what we the forgiven are empowered to pursue.




“Mía es la venganza” Dice el Señor

Como muchos de ustedes saben, soy fanático de los Patriotas, los Medias Rojas y los Boston Celtics, lo que significa que a lo largo de los años he anhelado vengarme de los otros equipos como los Gigantes, los Yankees, los Lakers y otros. Esto es humano y lo reconocemos en nosotros mismos. Pero, por supuesto, se supone que los deportes son un juego, una zona de purificación de emociones que deberíamos suprimir en otro lugar.

¿Cuál es la actitud bíblica hacia la venganza? Le ¡Pertenece a Dios! (Deuteronomio 32:35). Todos compartimos el deseo de venganza, pero esto es un pecado. Como comunidad de los redimidos, se nos enseña a amar y a orar por nuestros enemigos, por muy lenta que sea la educación (Romanos 12:19).

¿Qué significa esto? Que nosotros, como cristianos, no podemos aceptar ni aplaudir a un político o una plataforma centrada en la venganza. Es un error teológico. Quizás el líder que afirma que esto es su lema de campaña esté siendo honesto, pero lo está siendo respecto del error moral.

La venganza es de Dios, pero Él es un Dios de misericordia costosa, que nos llama a ser sus agentes de reconciliación entre aquellos que antes eran hostiles. Aunque sea difícil, esto es lo que nosotros, los perdonados, estamos empoderados para perseguir.



Complete the Race (II Timothy 4:17)

At the end of our vacation we find ourselves in Chicago for its Marathon weekend (the fastest, I have read this morning, perhaps because it is cool and relatively level). Marathons offer many good things. You can see world-class athletes from places like Ethiopia and Kenya. There is a feel of fiesta with signs by family members, getups by some for-fun runners, and food for sale.

But as I looked out my hotel window at 7:30 a.m., I watched the race of competitors who have lost legs or their use. Wheeling vehicles by arm for 26 miles means serious fitness and determination.

Those competitors were to me, this morning, a symbol of the Church too. For each is wounded. The larger family cheers them on. Each by grace has risen up to run the race. Ahead is the goal, the prize, the welcome home. We find the companionship of Jesus the Lord, there, and along the route too.