Revenge vs. Justice

I’ve never had a year quite like 2010. One of the most significant life lessons I’ve faced this year has been learning the significant difference between revenge and justice.

When I see someone treated with such cruelty by another person or entity, I deal with the human urge to see the other party not only make things right, but suffer consequences for their misdeeds. Hey, I’m not greedy about it. I think the punishment should fit the crime. What is so hard for me is when people seem to skate through life avoiding consequences for their destructive behavior.

I’m learning that revenge is very different from justice. Revenge is the act of myself focusing too much on what happens to the other person. Revenge is in my hands. Justice is not. Justice requires my focus to be on simply doing the right thing. It’s about me letting go of things which are out of my control.

There are times in this world when it seems that justice does not prevail. Things just don’t go the way we think they ought to go. However, we must find satisfaction in that we did right. We must find fulfillment in maintaining our integrity and not stooping to the level of those who have done us wrong.

There will be times when justice is meted out not in this world, but by God. Likewise, God is a giver of rewards when we demonstrate Christlike behavior.

I have made some major mistakes in my life. I have had consequences for many of them. However, more often than not, I have received God’s mercy in not getting what I deserved. Instead, I received what I didn’t deserve.

God’s grace.

I’m still learning to be a giver of grace to those who I feel don’t deserve it. In the course of writing this, I revisited the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5. Verses 2-14 speak most directly to the attitudes we should demonstrate. I don’t know if this particular topic is relevant to anyone else, or just myself. But it is something I’m working on. Something tells me that this will be a work in progress for the rest of my life. But I will certainly do my best.

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