Research Paper: Religious Studies
My teenage daughter became pregnant for a young gentleman who lied about his age, associations, immigration status, social life as well as his place of residence. I was never comfortable with this relationship since some of his values conflict with the Christian principles she was taught and the ones I am trying to uphold.
As such, the pregnancy was devastating to me. I felt violated as a parent from the perspective that this should not be happening to us. We love God; she grew up knowing the principles of truth and was offered perfect examples to make better decisions. The most petrifying part of this situation was while I suspected that she was pregnant his visits became less frequent even though we lived in the same apartment complex.
When I inquired where he was, in her attempt to defend him and herself she would say that he was working or had to be at school. Being more matured and looking in from outside, I knew that something was odd, because I would see him around the complex.
Eventually, the truth was revealed before the birth of my grandson. This guy even though looked 25 as he told my daughter was actually 35 yrs old married; had children and living with his wife in the complex a few doors from us. He had no job; was not attending any college and already had a misdemeanor for possession of illegal drugs. My daughter knew nothing about this background. She believed him on his word and was all over in love with innocence, which I think he took advantage of.
It seemed like a night mare. At the time all I felt was pain, revenge and void. I kept asking why, realizing that we had to take care of the infant without a father’s presence. By this time he fled from the apartment complex with no trace of subsequent residence. Precisely, he was evicted. I felt raped, just wanting to get back at this monster.
How many of you can identify with violation; emotional pain; subtle rape of integrity; revenge and mere injustice? I know you feel my remorse and every emotional baggage I carried with me during that experience. Your circumstances might not have been a neglected manipulated teenager with a four month old infant to raise as a single parent, but it might have been more gruesome as someone depriving you of your earnings; murder of a loved one; robbery; slander and more.
We live in a world some term as being “crazy- mixed up.” The urge to revenge or get even is very strong. Just briefly examine what we face on a daily basis. How fair it is to have paid your mortgage all the time and now the foreclosure syndrome hits you. It is so penetrating that you loose that home into which life long investments have been made. The mortgage company goes with everything.
The flip side now of these mortgage companies is that they have a number of foreclosed properties to maintain with no income. Consequently, the law of adverse possession takes over and persons get those same properties for nothing, actually. Revenge! Revenge! Revenge! We want to take those companies to court or the person who obtains them at a very low cost. The cry of injustice prevails as there seems to be no recourse in an uneven economic system.
Even more compelling to note is that some of us worked our lives with companies that go out of business paying employees nothing after 20-30 years service. They do not feel obligated. Just imagine we live in a world that forces retaliation for such discrepancies. What are the most appropriate responses to such a dilemma?
Someone said that is to PRAISE! But how do we get to that point of realizing that we just praise in the midst of legitimate revenge? Here is a reason to take action and promote one’s rights as a citizen; person or even Christian. I know of an analogy, whereby a man was praying everyday for food as he proclaimed “Praise the Lord” each day when it did not appear.
Eventually, a Good Samaritan brought him some sausage and bread. He was so delighted, that with uplifted voice and hands he raised his head to heaven placing his gift on the ground and said, ‘Praise the Lord!’ To his surprise when he was through with the adoration someone slipped his bounty way. He did not know who or what it was, but in the same spirit he proclaimed, ‘Praise the Lord!’ again. A bystander who saw what happened questioned how he was still saying ‘Praise the lord’ when there was nothing to eat. His response was, “I still have an appetite!”
In truth nothing is lost no matter how compelling it may appear. Alternative schools of thought show where just as how matter changes form so situations in life. Therefore, it would be wise while thinking of how we can give ‘an eye for an eye or a tooth for a tooth’ (1) that we all remember to ‘turn the other cheek’ (2) reminding ourselves of resources we still have available for our victory.
The issues which face us daily, so often initiate the need to respond by asking God for our cause to be avenged. There are various times we read in the bible, especially, when utilizing Old Testament scripture, where prophets and servants of God requested through prayer for Him to destroy their enemies. What has been God’s response?
Briefly, let us examine the scripture, Isaiah 63:1-14. The book Isaiah was written by a great prophet or for him. There is no certainty if he did write or his scribe was instructed to do so. In Chapters’ 56-66 concerns were addressed regarding how God avenged the captivity of the children of Israel who were in Babylon and returned to Jerusalem. (3)
Babylonian captivity was no easy period of their history. As such, they were bitter and just wanted to get back at their masters for the hash treatment and atrocities experienced during that time. Precisely, in chapter 63:1-14, the answer assuring God’s vengeance upon their enemies was revealed. It was demonstrated with such fury, Isaiah reported that God’s clothes were stained with blood from the massacre, pouring out the enemies’ life blood on the ground. Importantly, he did not need the help of anyone. He did it by all by Himself! (4)
What a confirmation! Verses 1-6 announces the victory and revenge which Israel was seeking while; 7-14 declares God’s sustaining grace throughout periods of difficulty in relationships as well as any indifference they might have encountered. The main issue at hand is why this need for revenge arose in the fist place. What were the contributory factors?
Verse 10 precisely states, ‘but they rebelled against Him (The Lord)) and made his holy spirit sad. So the Lord became their enemy and fought against them.” (5). It is clear that the scenes we are researching to bring some understanding of God’s position on revenge consist of God, Holy Spirit, Lord, enemy and me/you.
What if we were to say that God represents, the Judge who rules over our case for revenge or justice; Holy Spirit the mediator or prosecutor; the Lord, the law by which we are measured to know if we deserve the justice we are seeking; enemy, what we think about the situation, ourselves or others and me or you the victims of the circumstances we create.
What is God then saying to us who seek justice? Reflecting on Verse 8 & 9 we read, ‘The Lord said, they are my people; they will not deceive me…..And so he saved them from their suffering. It was not an angel, but the Lord himself. In his love and compassion he rescued them. He had always taken care of them in the past.” (6)
If this is true why there is a call for revenge or justice when the Lord is capable of taking care of everything? Personally, I believe that spiritual law is denoted by the word ‘Lord’ in scripture. The Lord never fails in bringing forth justice. God the supreme judge uses the Lord to make just decisions. If we violate Spiritual law we will be punished by it. ‘The Lord became their enemy and fought against them.’’(5). Why? ‘They rebelled against him and made his holy spirit sad,’ (5). In essence we have created the situations in which we find ourselves because we are not in alignment with spiritual law or the Lord.
Therefore, the supreme Judge is saying, our suffering will be avenged once, we remember, “the days of Moses, the servant of the Lord.’(7). Yes, Moses brought the Law to the people in midst of their disobedience, but the righteous Judge (God) intervened with mercy. So in our fury to ask God for justice let we examine ourselves to see how we stand before the righteous judge (God); Holy Spirit (the mediator), spiritual law (The Lord); our own conscience and others in our community.
Now, how can we take these concepts of God (the righteous judge); Holy Spirit (the mediator); Lord (spiritual law); (we) victims of the circumstances created through words, thoughts and actions and relate them to our daily interactions? Is there still a profound desire for God to punish our enemies according to our dictates? Or as the Lord (spiritual law) was merciful to us upon remembering, we extend with equal benevolence the same towards our enemies leaving the righteous Judge to make whatever recompense necessary?
In my opening remarks I allowed you to feel the impact of my pain as well as the deep desire for justice, not only for my daughter whom I believed was unfairly treated, but my own hurt when confronted with the misrepresentation that came with it. I wanted to avenge this assault on our integrity.
However, I did not remember the days of Moses and the spiritual law actively at work in the affairs of all men in this universe to ask, “Where now is the Lord, who saved the leaders of his people from the red sea? Where is the Lord who gave his spirit to Moses? ……. As cattle are led by fertile valley, so the Lord gave his people rest...” (8).
Each one seated in this hall can rest assured that justice or vengeance, which ever we desire belongs to the righteous judge (God). His promises are sure once we acknowledge our contribution to the dilemma. I never stopped to think how we both allowed this to seep into our spiritual environment. Perhaps, we were among the group that, ‘rebelled against Him (The Lord)) and made Holy Spirit (Mediator) sad. So the Lord (Spiritual law) became their enemy and fought against them.” (5).
In truth this is the reality of every situation each one of us face in life. We are all responsible for the events of our lives. God is love and justice all at the same time. Mankind suffers because we forget who we are and that God had been faithful towards us in the past. But we become caught up in mundane things. We often forget that God the righteous Judge working in collaboration with the Lord, spiritual Law, has already given us rest; has already rewarded us for our labor since we can only reap what we have sown.
Precisely, when we feel cheated of our homes by mortgage companies, robbed of wages by employers, slandered by colleagues, ostracized by society out of mere prejudice and disappointed by children; husbands, wives associates take no revenge on your own.
God does not need our help. Already, he has reigned his furry of justice on the earth. You can safely say, ‘Praise the Lord!’ because there is justice and vengeance in a God who cannot fail. The Lord (spiritual law) is our defense! Holy Spirit (mediator) is taking notes! Just remember what the Lord (spiritual law) accomplished through us in the past.
God never fails! No my God never fails!
He abides with me! Gives me victory!
No! My God never fails. I just keep the faith.
Never cease to pray! Walk upright, morning, noonday, and night!
He’s always there! He’s always there!
I have no need to worry for God never fails!
This is the blessed assurance everyone has. We do not have to journey through life utilizing Moses Law all the time ensuring ‘an eye for and eye a tooth for a tooth.’( 1). Just as how God shows compassion towards us when we remember his tender mercies and loving kindness everyday; when we remember to say, ‘praise the Lord ,’ despite the circumstances; so we have to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.
I know of a man who waited 20 years to get even with a colleague who played a prank on him in his senior years at high school. During the time he was waiting and planning on how he would remind the enemy of the action and take revenge to receive justice, he got married, had children; his health failed, he lost both parents within a week, and his wife and eldest son died through disastrous circumstances.
He became more bitter with everyone, life and God. Until one day his dream of meeting this enemy came through. As he kept rehearsing the unfortunate experience the enemy kept on smiling being caught up in the jubilation of seeing him after so many years. The enemy could not understand what he was talking about because this occurred some 20 years ago and he could not recall the incident. Was it worth the trouble? Do you believe God took care of it! Certainly, he did! God bless you!
1. Good News Bible. ‘Exodus: 21: 24’
(New York: American Bible Society, 2002), 89
2. 1bid., 6
3. Good News Bible, 811
4. Good News Bible, 811
5. Good News Bible, 811
6. Good News Bible, 811
7. Good News Bible, 811
8. Good News Bible, 811
Good news bible, New York: American bible society, 2002.