Watts has produced a very fine and highly enjoyable series of articles over some years. I am rather fond of the series on the “Golden Rule,” and am always excited when I spot a new theme.
Wotation takes us into the very depth of the spiritual life and also into some modern concepts of kindness and hospitality.
This first article relates to us as individuals – or perhaps to some wider world out there.
I am struck by the fact that we care so much more aboutbeh elucidation than we do about thebehance of individuals.
I also see an important factor here and that is how this sort of behaviour alters our hearts.
You may have experienced this sort of thing in various walks of life.
A person says or does something deliberately to hurt you, or tears your heart.
It might be a sort of comment or attack of an individual, or it might be something motivated by a particular desire, ambition, lust, jealousy etc.
Sometimes you can be found guilty of this. It can feel like a deep sin.
The Scripture here in this section is somewhat shocking on all the various ways that human beings will deliberately and directly go against their Maker, God Himself.
“Thou shalt not take revenge.”
“Thou shalt not bear one thought of another.”
“You shall love your neighbour as thyself.”
The first point here is, “Do Not.”
Why? Because it is sin. It is a terrible thing to go against our Creator. A sin as big as the whole Kingdom of God is at stake here.
The second point is made very clear. Do not take revenge. Do not go back at them. Do not get drawn into their wrangling tactics.
Now, what if such revenge is not to be avoided? Is it not drawn into the main conflict?
Perhaps we need to ask the person to show us the whole reasons for their bad behaviour.
For what purpose is it that they are shedding innocent blood?
For the purpose of life.
How much is your life worth?
In Christ Jesus, there is no place for revenge. Life is so precious. Should there be any concept of “getting even” with a person who offends you? Certainly not!
Let there be no thought of revenge. Let it be lost forever. Instead, let your love and compassion take theatural person into consideration. Look at the evidence and be fully truthful.
The word “retribution” should not be used as a reason to go off and mistreat someone.
Perhaps it is time to state some very clear principles, on the matter of revenge.
Perhaps these principles, expressed in seven principles, are a more balanced view of the whole conflict?
Tle Case But Effective
Let us now consider the use of the word “retribution” in the light of the Word of God.
1. It is always costly, in spite of the fact that one of theurring principles is that it should be coming.
2. It will alwaysmares, as there is a price to pay.
3. It willalwayscome to pass; it must occur once and for all.
4. It will not be forgotten or allowed to go carelessly by a person merely enjoying the thrill of conflict and the consequent excitement of conflict.
5. Using a phrase like “they deserve to be punished” is an injustice to the scriptures. The mentioned words were straight from the mouth of Satan.
“Bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”~2 Corinthians 10:5(NIV).
Positive Justice- True Justice
Only as the fruit of true justice can a justice effectively bemeasured, and only then can it be given a useful role.
Here, then, is what we’re called to – justice that isenthusiastic,unashamed,caustic,andevenunbridled- over and over again.
This provides a great deal more safety as we focus on the task at hand.
It must be the righteous indwelling justice of God that we focus on, despising anything that might attempt to usurp it.
Undoing the Wrong Doings of Others
The usual patterns of patterns in society are seen whenever conflict occurs. bias is present. hypocrisy is introduced. goodwill is thrown away for thesameeterrain. And, finally, the seed of the wrongdoings Sometimes… grows into something that is hard toceptuallycontrol- and to stop its spread.
This too is the calling card of Satan.