It was the second time it happened. The first was a few months earlier. We live in a peaceful city, right in the middle of about 100 cities in Southern California. It’s so law abiding that we don’t even have our own police department. There is a station, but if there’s trouble it’s dealt with by the force from an adjacent city.
Both incidents happened around 1:00AM. It began with the screeching of car tires. But this wasn’t some teenager doing a donut and then leaving. This sounded like dozens of very powerful vehicles incessantly laying rubber for about 20 minutes, terrorizing the entire neighborhood for miles.
My heart broke for the elderly in the nearby convalescent home, for those people who were living alone, and for impressionable little children. What sort of person would get joy out of terrorizing a whole city?
Suddenly, I heard a most joyful sound. Police sirens filled the air. It was like the trumpet-sound of the cavalry, rescuing settlers who were being mercilessly attacked. In seconds, there was a thankful peace. The law had finally entered and done its wonderful work.
The Christian’s Longing
How vexed we are with this evil world that delights in wickedness. It passionately fights for the right to kill babies in the womb. It fervidly promotes all sorts of sexual perversion. Its wicked lips are filled with blasphemy and hatred toward the God who gave them life. How we long for such evil to be stopped.
Scripture doesn’t expect us to be passive. We are commanded, “You who love the Lord, hate evil!” (Psalm 97:10). While we may grieve at such evil, we never fret, because we know that the law is coming:
Do not fret because of evildoers,
Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity.
For they shall soon be cut down like the grass,
And wither as the green herb.
Instead, we continue to look to God, and to do good:
Trust in the Lord, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. (Psalm 37:1-3)
It is because God is our Lord and master that we don’t resort to violence in the face of evil. As Christians, we have a better way:
Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:17-21)
We not only wait on the Lord as His willing servants, we wait for Him:
Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.
Cease from anger, and forsake wrath;
Do not fret—it only causes harm.
For evildoers shall be cut off;
But those who wait on the Lord,
They shall inherit the earth.
For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more;
Indeed, you will look carefully for his place,
But it shall be no more.
But the meek shall inherit the earth,
And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. (Psalm 37:7-11)
There is an anger that isn’t sinful; Paul writes “Be angry, and do not sin,” (Ephesians 4:26-27). Rather than push us toward violence, the indignation we feel provokes us to love. Remember that we are to preach the gospel that takes evil men and changes their heart toward the good.