Why do we want God’s retribution?

22 Jul

I listened to a new song from the late Johnny Cash the other day: God’s Gonna Cut You Down. It’s an appealing message–“You may think you’re something, but God will knock you down a peg or two.”

Why do we find comfort in the idea that God will “get even” with someone? Certainly it must come from the idea that we want a fair world. But when our world does not treat us fairly, we can accept it by believing that God will set things right.

But is that what Christians should believe? Didn’t Jesus teach us otherwise? Let’s recall his words:

When he saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him.
He began to teach them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Interesting words that Matthew has attributed to Jesus: those who thirst for righteousness will be satisfied. Does this mean that those who treat us unfairly will be “cut down” as Johnny Cash promises? Or did Christ mean something else?

Something to ponder…


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