Vengeance is Mine
Friday - March 19th
Devotionals from the Book of James
Scripture to Read Today: James 5:7-12
Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God's wrath,
for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord.
The more people reject the concept of a Creator God Who made them and will hold them accountable one day, the more people want all judgment for evildoers immediately. We no longer live with the understanding that if someone slips through the justice system here on earth, they will face judgment in eternity by God.
As a nation, we have drifted from the moorings of the fundamental justice principle of innocent until proven guilty in court. We now hear of an awful assault, racist act, or hideous crime and immediately act as investigators, prosecutors, juries, and judges. We try people in the court of public opinion rather than a law-based court of justice. Many of the accused may very well be guilty, but trial and sentencing by a social media mob do not represent an environment where the law is the standard, and one is innocent until proven guilty.
As we have lost our understanding of accountability for this life in the next, we want all judgment now. We want the viral video related to the incident to be the only evidence. We want the trial to be swift (by later today) and the sentence to be hard (canceled entirely tomorrow).
I get it. There are grievous acts we all get to see instantly that seem so apparent to all of us. We want justice. We ache for the victims (and we should). We get angry at the system moving so slowly and so technically when the outcome is plain to all of us. I feel that way, too.
But, I am not sure our sense of justice or vengeance helps us or others recover from the rude, violent, or bigoted act. Swift righteous indignation and harsh judgment do not bring real relief from the pain of our broken world. We think vengeance now will make us feel better. But, in reality, we just grow in our anger and bitterness.
Don't get me wrong. We need police officers, prosecutors, judges, juries, trials, prisons, etc. But we can't become obsessed with justice now. As God's children, we need to understand that everyone will give an account to God. Those who do vile, racist, violent things to others will face the human courts here, but we find peace in knowing the real justice and judgment comes when they meet God.
As James talks to the oppressed, persecuted, and overwhelmed Christians of his day, he reminds them that they must remember the Lord is the final judge. While we seek justice here, we do not get fired up and frustrated because it seems we will never achieve full justice in our broken world.
James reminds us in chapter five and verse nine, "The judge is standing at the door." We are not to be overwhelmed with frustration here. We can rest in the knowledge that every person must give an account to God. That judgment is just around the corner. Remember the Scriptures say, "Vengeance is mine, says the Lord!" Rest assured - He will not be too light or too harsh in the justice with which He judges.
Justice may not be perfect on earth now. But, all will face the justice and judgment of God one day in eternity!