Last night I preached Psalm 94. A ballad the psalmist wrote and sang about vengeance. There is part of all of us that sometimes has secret desire to see people, "Get what is coming to them." Our silent and secret desire for mayhem to strike those who do wrong, make mistakes, have problems, and just do not cooperate and help others is too often harbored and nurtured in our hearts.
It seems when I do not like someone, or at least do not like something they do, I know I should love them, and help them, especially if they are a weaker brother or sister in the faith, but there is this secret place in my heart that holds nothing but disdain. It seems that this place is dark and the thoughts or idea that one might find in there are too gruesome and too ugly to ever be shared publicly. The rest of my heart working with my brain would never, ever let anyone even know the little dirty secret that could be found in this dreary and tiny place in my heart. I would never say it, write it, and I would even look around shamefully, if I think it. But the actions and vengeance in there, just should not be there. But the truth is that thi secret place with bad thoughts is there.
This is a reality for every human being. Even the Apostles who had been with Jesus seeing His love demonstrated again and again. When someone used Jesus name in Luke chapter 9:49-50 the disciples wanted to rebuke these who used Jesus name but were not part of the group and Jesus told them no. Saying if they are not against me it is OK. But then just a few verses later we see this deep and secret part of their hearts opened up and vengeance comes out.
Luke 9:51-55 NLT 51 As the time drew near for him to ascend to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. 52 He sent messengers ahead to a Samaritan village to prepare for his arrival. 53 But the people of the village did not welcome Jesus because he was on his way to Jerusalem. 54 When James and John saw this, they said to Jesus, “Lord, should we call down fire from heaven to burn them upj?” 55 But Jesus turned and rebuked them.k
This secret place of vengeance and a desire to see people, "get what is coming to them," is not from God. To clean it our of our heart we must open all of our heart to Jesus. When we give Him free reign in every action and every part of our hearts, then we can begin to try to see the good in every person that God has created.
The Lord will deal with everyone. For those of us who believe we will be dealt with with God's mercy and grace. For those who do not believe God will deal with them too. In His time, and in His way. Our task is to love and be God's instrument to be used here and now. Every feeling of anger, bitterness, jealousy, lust or any other negative feeling we have in this secret place in our heart must be exposed to the light of Jesus Christ to rid ourselves of any thought of vengeance. "Vengeance is mine is" says the Lord is written often in the Scripture, so for us to try take over the work of the Lord in dealing with those who are unrighteous, unholy, evil, mean or even just a bit ornery does not belong to us, even in the secret place in our heart . If we try to have or hold some vengeance in our hearts, we are taking from God, His right to Judge.
When we agree with God. When we believe in Him, we fully support His judgement we open even the secret place of wrath in our heart to His will. He has said, "Whosoever will call upon the Name of the Lord, will be saved." We should trust God to know, who all of these are, and not second guess Him, even in private parts of our heart.