Thursday, December 3, 2009

Obadiah's Part

In the overall story, when things need to be settled, God handles it. That's his part. When we try to do his part, that's when we get ourselves into trouble. Historically, when the church tries to do God's part we get things like the Crusades and the Inquisition. God doesn't need us to bring justice, thinking that is our job or even our right is foolish and dangerous.

Our society (especially the typical guy) revels in seeing a person do God's part. We love the hero who serves revenge as a cold dish, who (often through violence) makes right the wrongs that have been done. We celebrate the gory spectacle of warriors bringing down those who have brought others down and we salute them as they stand over the fallen oppressors.

"On the day you stood aloof
while strangers carried off his wealth
and foreigners entered his gates
and cast lots for Jerusalem,
you were like one of them.
You should not look down on your brother
in the day of his misfortune,
nor rejoice over the people of Judah
in their day of destruction,
nor boast so much
in their day of trouble.

You should not march through the gates of my people
in the day of their disaster,
nor look down on their calamity
in the day of their disaster,
nor seize their wealth
in the day of their disaster.

You should not wait at the crossroads
to cut down their fugitives,
nor hand over their survivors
in the day of their trouble.

The day of the Lord is near
for all nations.
As you have done, it will be done to you;
your deeds will return upon your own head."

We should recognize what we celebrate for what it is. Our part is not to create some bloody thing that vaguely resembles justice. Our part is to create mercy.

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