This is Part 2 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?” Part 3 will be posted tomorrow.
Follow the Lord’s Attitude Toward Inflictors
The Lord Jesus always exercised compassion and mercy during His time on earth, and sought forgiveness for those who inflicted suffering upon Him even as He hung on the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Luke 23:34 NKJ) This attitude and action requires Divine empowerment and forgiveness, which is exactly what glorifies the Lord!
Would the Lord inflict judgment on those who bring about misery in the lives of others? Certainly! When He returns, He will come back with a vengeance. The characterization that John reveals in Revelation chapter one is very clear,
12 Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. 14 His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; 15 His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; 16 He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. (Rev. 1:12-16 NKJ)
That description is far different from the “gentle Jesus” that we often see painted on children’s classrooms in church! There is a time for grace and patience, but the time of judgment is coming and that will come at the Second Advent described in Revelation 19,
11 Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. 12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. 13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. 15 Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. (Rev. 19:11-16 NKJ)
But that is what the Lord will do. Our responsibility is to follow His pattern during His First Advent (His time on earth), unless we are part of the government’s police force, the nation’s military,1 or deal with criminals within the judicial system. We have no right to pursue personal vengeance towards others. As the Lord entrusted Himself to the Father, so also we must entrust ourselves to God the Father. What does that look like?
Part 3 will be posted tomorrow.
1There may come a time when the people of a nation must stand up to tyrants in their own country as the colonists did when America was founded. Only after wise counsel, much prayer, and previous attempts to bring the government to its senses after a significant violation of constitutional principles would the people then have the right to correct the government through whatever means is available per the Constitution and Bill of Rights. That should not be considered flippantly or hastily, but only after all other means of correction have been attempted.