“In his Speeches On Religion to its Cultured Despisers, Friedrich Schleiermacher identified retribution as the single most distinctive feature of the Old Testament, but also one that had been permanently rejected by Jesus and the New Testament, thus surviving legitimately only in Judaism. Schleiermacher saw Old Testament retribution as superseded by New Testament forgiveness, the Old Testament’s portrayal of a God of wrath corrected by the New Testament’s depiction of a God of love – a view that survives Schleiermacher quite successfully in many contemporary Christian churches and communities.” – Stephen B. Chapman
Have we gotten over “life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth” living (Exodus 21:23-25, Leviticus 24:17-21)? It’s the kind of living, you know, where if someone hurts us – we hurt them back? If they say something mean to us, we don’t like them? If they hurt our family, we go after them? (This has come up on Twitter quite a bit – “just let them touch my family.” Sounds good – sorta – but it’s a bogus Christian attitude.) If they steal from me, I’m all over them?
Admittedly, getting back at someone feels good on one level sometimes, doesn’t it? We all have either done it or wished it. Thing is, it isn’t how God treats us so it isn’t how we should treat others. Instead of vengeance, we need to work things out or simply drop it and move on. And I understand that this, for some, can be very hard.
Fact is, Jesus is God’s retribution now. Jesus does it for us. Let’s let him take care of things and free ourselves up for more time to forgive, love, and grant mercy.