Saturday, September 18, 2004

Christians and Vengeance

A Hard Look at Vengeance

In the aftermath of the World Trade Center bombing, there was one question raised that no one really stopped to answer. Is it wrong for the United States to seek vengeance for the murder of the 5000 innocent people who died on September 11? Should we, as a country, turn the other cheek? There were those who thought the criminals who did this act should be brought to justice, but that it was wrong to merely seek revenge on Osama Bin Laden and the Al Qaeda organization.

When I thought about this, it seemed obvious that there were some fundamental misunderstandings about both vengeance and the responsibilities of governments. So here we will try to clarify the issues and deal with some misunderstandings relative to vengeance-especially as it relates to Christian people.

First, a definition. Vengeance denotes: "The infliction of injury, harm, humiliation, or the like in return for an injury or other offense received; revenge." Related to vengeance are the ideas of retribution, punishment and justice.

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