This is Part 1 of 3 parts answering the question, “What Should Your Attitude Be Toward Those Who Cause Suffering?” in the larger question, “Why does a loving God allow suffering?” Parts 2-3 will be posted on succeeding days.
The immediate priority of those who suffer is, from the human perspective, how to get through it, overcome it and avoid it in the future. The second priority is to see what or who is causing the trouble. If it is bacteria, then a doctor can prescribe some kind of antibiotic. However, what if it is a person causing the pain? How should you view that person? (This is a fairly easy answer if you are not suffering! If you are in the midst of a struggle that is caused by a recognized person, then the answer may be more difficult).
Do Not Seek Vengeance
The human response toward those who inflict harm is vengeance or “getting even.” Several of my soldier friends I made while serving in the first year of my military enlistment would say, “I don’t get mad, I get even.” It was meant to be a humorous way of remaining objective and just dealing with those who would cause trouble to our country (or our unit). But the reality is that vengeance is only the right of God and those in whom He has ordained responsibility. An example of this would be our government’s dealings with criminals or other countries. Paul wrote, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. (Rom. 12:19 NKJ) And he made clear the ordained responsibility that God gives to righteous governments,
Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. 4 For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. (Rom. 13:1-4 NKJ)
So if God and government are the only entities who are allowed to seek vengeance, what should your attitude and actions be toward those who cause suffering in your life? Always look in Scripture to see how the Lord Jesus dealt with those who inflicted harm.
Part 2 will be posted tomorrow.