Friday, January 16, 2015


I don't know if it is because I am rooted in lex talionis -- "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth." -- or because my sinful nature requires it of me. But when I am offended I must retaliate. That may simply be crafted in an expression of outrage or anger. Occasionally it will be the quiet resignation that people are basically unkind and insensitive. In either case the strategy is not very complicated -- I need to make someone pay!

This sensation is personal, but it becomes compounded when I believe that others are hurt or influenced negatively by what irks me. It troubles me deeply when a tender soul is at risk because of what someone else has perpetrated. It is never more poignant than when it is the Church under attack, or when the Trinity, or the Kingdom of God, or God's creation are impugned. My natural inclination is to raise the alarm and to invite others to do the same. I seek vengeance.

When men of renown write or speak publicly in a manner that denies their adherence to the inerrant Word of God, and when they wish to divert the evangelical believer from his or her allegiance to Christ by subverting the truth, then I become agitated. I find this disappointing, but it does remind me that Scripture is sufficient and that's where I am to hold fast. I need no other revelation.

I am further reminded in all of this that vengeance is not mine to seek. It has not been given to me to defend the honor of the Lord of the Universe, much as I would like to. He says: I will blot out their memory from mankind. (Deuteronomy 32:25), and "I wil take vengeance in anger and wrath upon the nations that have not obeyed me (Micah 5:15), and He does not hesitate to remind us:" The Lord is a jealous and avenging God and that He takes vengeance on all His foes." (Nahum 1:2)

In the context of frustration and opposition, instead of endorsing my natural inclination to retaliate, the Lord Jesus instructs me: "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me, rejoice and be glad for great is your reward in heaven" -- this is what they did to the prophets before you! (Matthew 5:12)

And so it appears that when I set aside my inclination to wrath, and settle the matter that this is God's domain and not my own, then there is blessing, and joy awaiting me. He has lifted my load. He does not need my help in mounting His defence, nor does He allow me to demean those who teach against Him. He simply calls me to live the Christian life, quietly and with confidence, that being the most cogent witness I have to the grace of God in Christ.

-Wilfred A. Bellamy, Ph.D.

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