“Vengeance” by Art Nicklaus

Today’s blog post is written by my wise husband. It is taken from his February 12, 2019 journal of daily reflections on the scripture he reads. He shares his journal with me everyday. I saved this one. He did not write this so I would post it on my blog. This is just who he is! I love him!

“Psalm 43 (The Passion Translation) was originally the last part of Psalm 42. I guess there are three stages of viewing revenge, of seeking vengeance. The lowest level would be seeking and taking revenge yourself, actually doing harm in some way to someone that you feel has harmed you. I’ve done that. (I repent!)

I learned to do that at a young age, usually when my brothers would do something to make me angry. Taking my own revenge would make me feel good for a while, brought me some kind of relief and even sick pleasure, but mixed with guilt and regret. 

Then there is David, who asks God to take the revenge that David feels he is due. I get it. These people slandered David, they made life difficult for him. Their charges against him were “unjust” (verse 1). Throughout my life there has been this overwhelming “thing” that rises up from deep inside me when I feel I have been treated unjustly; a “thing” that demands payback, demands vengeance. David, I can see why you would seek God’s vengeance on “ungodly workers of wickedness,” on “lying degenerates,” on an “enemy who comes after me, gloating with glee.” Wow, I have wanted, in my past, to do real harm to people like that. 

But there is a third response regarding vengeance for wrongs done, real and/or perceived…and Jesus shows us that response with his life, as well as his teaching. Jesus knew that vengeance is a never ending cycle that must be broken. It’s the old story of the Hatfields and the McCoys, vengeance going back and forth forever with nothing but tragic, destructive results. The last living Nuremberg trial prosecutor Ben Ferencz said (among many other wise things), “No war is ever won.”

Jesus didn’t have to go to the cross, the Bible makes that clear; he chose the cross. Real victory comes at the price of laying down our lives, of “losing the battle to win the war.” I think David was getting glimpses of that truth, look at verse 3: “Pour into me the brightness of your daybreak! Pour into me your rays of revelation-truth! Let them comfort and gently lead me onto the shining path, showing the way into your burning presence, into your many sanctuaries of holiness.” What a prayer. A prayer I can pray, we all can pray, when we feel we are being wronged, taken advantage of, being unjustly treated.

Vengeance is NOT “the shining path.” It’s the dark path. The Way of Jesus is the shining path that leads to being in His presence, experiencing His presence. And it is (verse 5) “living before his face that is my saving grace!” Literally, being in your presence IS MY SALVATION.” Amen and Amen, so help me God. 

Love, Artie”