Sometimes, I just need to gaze on innocence. (I’ve been doing a lot of that lately.)
And sometimes I have strong urges to punish the guilty. It’s the vindicator in me—the exactor of justice. I think it may be a force most powerful in those of us who were harmed at an age when we should have been protected and were not.
I am comforted, when thoughts of retribution wiggle their way into my over-stuffed subconscious, to know that God “will punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sins.” (Isaiah 13:11) And He will not stand for injustice. “Acquitting the guilty and condemning the innocent— the Lord detests them both.” (Proverbs 17:15)
There’s comfort in those truths. There’s also freedom—because it allows the God who knows more than we ever will to work in ways that we never could. He knows us (victims and perpetrators) intimately. He knows what gives us hope and restores our innocence. He knows what consequences can spur our lives to change. He knows . It’s often up to us to recognize and report evil so His vindication can begin, but beyond that—above that—it is our obligation and blessing to love the injured. To simply, purely love them. To leave justice to God and to those whose roles or positions make them suited for the task, and to commit our hearts and minds instead to loving the broken and healing the hurt. What freedom there is in that beautiful responsibility—and what reassurance in knowing that an unrestrainable God is battling for the punishment and redemption of those we cannot reach.
On this Valentine’s day, my mind isn’t on romantic love. It’s on a love that lives for others: committed to others, attuned to others, for the sake of others and in spite of (some) others. There is healing in that—for all involved. And, to me, there is no nobler cause.
“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
In case you wondered: Choler [noun] Anger, ill humor.