Vengeance is Not Ours

Screenshot 2016-06-15 at 11.06.17 AMOur collective attention has been focused on Orlando since Sunday. Every angle of that story, from terrorism to gun control, has been covered. Stories with that much media attention I usually avoid commenting on completely; everything that can be said pretty much has been (whether it should have been or not).

Omar Matten reported posted “All gays must die” before the shooting starting. While Americans debate whether bakers and florists should be closed down for refusing to serve LGBT customers, homosexuality is still punishable by death in Muslim countries. I don’t want this post to disintegrate into a political discussion, but some Christians have questioned the current administration’s support of gay rights and also tolerance of Islam in light of those two things not necessarily being tolerant of each other. I want to remind all Christian believers that vengeance belongs to God.

Most Christians do not support abortion, at least not as a readily available form of birth control. But a few years ago some pro-life activists listed the names and addresses of abortion doctors so they could be hunted down and murdered. Dozens of abortion clinics have been bombed or set on fire. Let’s be perfectly clear: if you murder another person that makes you a murderer. Killing an abortion doctor takes the life of another person and you and I simply do not have the right. I believe marriage should be between one man and one woman. But I also have friends and family members that are gay or lesbian. Every person you meet is made in God’s image and it would not honor God for me to kill them. Those are extreme examples. If you know for a fact your neighbor has been stealing your newspaper, taking the Reader’s Digest from his mailbox doesn’t make you “even.” It makes both of you guilty.

Paul wrote in Romans 12, referencing Deuteronomy 32, “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.’” I am called to share the Gospel. Every follower of Jesus that has heard the Gospel and believes is called to share the Gospel. Executing judgement not only violates another human being, it steals what rightly belongs to God. Dan Cathy took some publicity flack a few years ago for his support of biblical marriage. But when a Muslim terrorist shot a hundred people he deemed worthy of death, Chick-fil-A employees came to work on Sunday in order to support the community affected. Romans 12 concludes with the idea that we cannot overcome evil with evil. We can only overcome evil with good.

Christians are not called to hate nor to violence. A few miss that message from time to time. People that do not know God are not the enemy – they are the mission field. Consider Ephesians 6:12. Know the difference between the mission field and the battle field.

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