Saturday, July 23, 2011


"Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct?
No, they have no shame at all;
they do not even know how to blush.
So they will fall among the fallen;
they will be brought down when they are punished,
says the LORD." Jeremiah 8:12

"Vengeance is just:
Justly we rid the earth of human fiends
Who carry hell for pattern in their souls.
But in high vengeance there is noble scorn:
It tortures not the torturer, nor gives
Iniquitous payment for iniquity.
The great avenging angel does not crawl
To kill the serpent with a mimic fang;
He stands erect, with sword of keenest edge
That slays like lightning."

--George Eliot

I want to be a good, kind person, but sometimes the feeling of vengeance rises up in me like an animal. As much as I can, I put judgement in God's hands, but the past few days, I've been paralyzed with the desire for bad things to happen to a person who I feel wronged me. After these imaginings, I experience remorse, and then, I want to hurt myself. Some human being's always taking a beating as I grapple with fear in the face of perceived injustice.

If I can, I want to stand up with dignity, turn the resolution over to God. I love the idea of slaying the serpent swiftly and elegantly. However, in this case, I've come to the conclusion that the monster that needs killing is my own pride and ego. That desperate need to be right needs to die. I need to douse out the fire of self-righteous anger--the fantasies of harm coming upon the one who hurt me, the mean-spirited text messages, the gossip, the drafting of long hateful letters that I later tear up--all these need to melt away until there's room in me again, room again for God, room again for shine.

"O LORD, the God who avenges, O God who avenges, shine forth."
Psalm 94:1

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