To You, O Lord, I lift up my soul. O my God, I trust in You; Let me not be ashamed; Let not my enemies triumph over me. Indeed, let no one who waits on You be ashamed. Psalm 25:1-3
The only way I can bless those who persecute me is to have faith in the justice of God. I have to trust that my Father does not take sin lightly and is anything but passive when His children are righteously persecuted. Otherwise, I will see the command to ‘bless those who persecute me’ and believe that God shrugs His shoulders and fails to care about how much I may have been hurt. The only thing I’ll perceive He’s concerned about is keeping the peace between enemies. Does He love peace more than He loves truth? Does He love reconciliation more than He angers over injustice?
These are the questions that can keep a child of God up at night ~ especially if they have been raised in a home where pain was not acknowledged. Parents saw their children’s tears, heard them cry, and may have even heard the story of what caused the tears, but then walked away and appeared unmoved by it all. “Pray for your enemies” is a hollow command in the halls of stoic homes.
Against the backdrop of loving my enemy however is the reality of imprecatory passages, like Psalm 69:23-24 Let their eyes be darkened, so that they cannot see, and make their loins tremble continually. Pour out your indignation upon them, and let your burning anger overtake them.
Paul loved this Psalm and quoted it several times in Romans. Jesus loved this Psalm as well and quoted it twice from the cross. Putting those who hurt me into God’s hands is to be assured that there will be justice served. Either our enemy will come to the cross, repent, and Jesus will justify them through taking the wrath they should suffer upon Himself – or – at the end of the age, God will pour out His wrath and indignation upon them to the fullest extent. One way or the other, no exceptions, sin must be dealt with.
God rules with justice and mercy. He is passionate about mercy; about sinners coming to Jesus to have their sins forgiven and to experience a Savior who takes the wrath of God upon Himself. And He is also passionate about justice; bringing down wrath on those who persecute the saints, perpetrate evil, and shun repentance. His plan is perverted when I get in the way and try to wear His crown. Justice is God’s business and never should I usurp His jurisdiction and take matters of revenge into my own hands.
Imprecatory Psalms and praying for our enemies are the practical applications of God’s justice and mercy here on earth. If I am more bent toward one than the other, I misrepresent the nature and character of God. If I’m soft on sin and have no righteous anger, then mercy stands alone and God’s holiness is in question. If I live angry and cry out for justice, then the radical love that Jesus showed on the cross is obscured.
Dangerously, I am more bent toward one than the other. God must work in me to make me balanced. I am in prayer about this in my own heart.
Lord, you know my personal obstacles and only You can show break through my confusion and conflicted heart. I wait for Your wisdom. Amen