Let me tell you a story? Paint picture, if you will. Right now, there is a large group of people, with a well-known name, and a widespread reach. They have found something they don’t agree with, someone they don’t like. They believe that what that someone is doing is wrong, and they think that their beliefs are better, that they are better people, even perhaps a higher level of humanity. They are are outraged at what they see, and want to capture, torture and kill, and even going so far as to call for the heads of the people with whom they are angry.
Read that carefully. Maybe read again? Who does that make you think of? I’m guessing, your answer is probably the well-known Islamic rooted terrorist groups, known as ISIS and Jihad and the Taliban. But you would be wrong. What I just described is the reaction I have seen over the past few days from many people, many Christians, some of whom I know and love and respect, but who are out raged at what they see going on in Paris, Beirut, Baghdad, and Israel and other parts of the world. Some of them have made public statements saying that they wish that THEY could have the heads of the brutal maniacs that are terrorizing the Middle East and parts of Europe. Citing their deep evil hearts, and barbaric actions, begging for a chance to “have at them”.
I will admit, that for a brief moment, I was one of them. It makes me sick to my core to see what these evil men are doing to this world. To see them recruit children and indoctrinate them into carrying out their evil wishes across the world. Seeing them slaughter men women and children of many races and religions, anything that is not them. I would rationalize it by saying, “God says,
‘Do unto others as you would have them do to you.’ (Like 6:31; Matt 7:12)
They had it coming.” But see, that verse applies to believers and how we should treat other people, not to the barbaric savages who are doing these evil deeds. See, God also says,
“Vengeance is mine saith the Lord” (Heb. 10:30; Rom. 12:19; Deut. 32:35)
And what about Christ’s word about retaliation and loving our enemies?
“38You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you. 43“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:38-48 ESV)
Are we loving our enemies? Are we forgiving them, praying for them? Are we not just asking God to end the evil, but also to save their souls? We would be committing a grave sin of putting ourselves in the place of God if we sought to take vengeance against the evil around the world out of our own might and our own will. Now, please PLEASE do not get me wrong. I. Love. Our. Military!! I have great respect for the man and woman who leave everything to defend total strangers against the evil of this world, and stand up for their country and what they believe. Military defense of nations, and wars are not only talked about and commanded in the Bible, but God also blessed battles and soldiers and armies. There is, most definitely, a place for that. A place for defending the widows in the orphans, for standing up for your country and what you believe. But, it is to be carried out under the authority of the government and by the military. If we as individuals take our anger and rage against what others are doing into our own hands and seek drastic harm and death to them, and we become absolutely no better than the barbaric savages that we are angry with. Our military is made to defend our country, and also our allies and others who are less able to defend themselves. That is how our country, and the world was designed.
The moment we throw all of that away, take things into our own hands, do not trust in the powers that be, and especially do not trust in God’s perfect will, in His perfect way, in His perfect time WE. HAVE. NOTHING.