Greetings What in the Cat Hair fans. Denise Marie invited me to make a guest posting on her blog site. I would have done it even if it wasn’t her birthday today. But since it is her birthday: Happy birthday blog to my lovely wife.
Curiously enough, I had one of those What in the Cat Hair moments on my way to work this morning. I was driving along, minding my own business when a huge Escalade came up suddenly behind me. The SUV was following me so closely that it looked like a giant chrome building in my rear view mirror.
He stayed a few feet off my rear bumper until finally passing against a solid yellow line. Whereupon, he immediately began tailgating the next car in line. I grumbled a brief prayer asking the Lord to bring judgment and wrath upon him....
I was thinking minimally of a policeman coming along to pay him the just wages of his sin. Interestingly, my petition for justice was barely out of my mouth when an oncoming car flashed its headlights. Ordinarily, I would have welcomed this friendly heads-up warning of a police car ahead. However, the jerky driver also got the message and started driving prudently. He looked totally innocent and law abiding as he drove past the semi-concealed officer.
UGH! My next prayer was, “Lord, What in the Cat Hair? This evil doer is going unpunished. Where is the justice in this? How long will the wicked prosper? When will the righteous (like me) be vindicated?” Or something like that.
As you may have guessed, I love justice. My favorite movies feature Chuck Norris and Steven Segal acting as God’s agents of vengeance against bad people. My son thinks these movies are simplistic and clichéd. I disagree. I love revenge movies as much as Denise loves Lifetime movies about relationally impaired people finding true love on the prairie. Good action flicks have all the essential ingredients of a well formulated storyline. The plot involves bad powerful people getting away with mayhem until a hero steps forward. A few good chase scenes later, the victimizing and exploiting villains are terminated by the righteous agent of payback. I know you are all still inspired by the immortal words of Harry Callahan in the epic film, Dirty Harry:
"I know what you're thinking. “Did he fire six shots or only five?" Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself. But being as this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?"
The killer/rapist bad guy mistakenly felt lucky that day and was thus eliminated from the movie and further sequels. Great ending. Justice prevails. I walk away with a warm happy What in the Cat Hair? feeling in my soul.
But just when it all seems so simple, I got an email from a missionary I counseled many years ago. He wrote that he had a private meeting with the individual responsible for the greatest suffering of his life, when he was living in captivity. I knew exactly who he was talking about- We had spent many hours in counseling dissecting and reconstructing the traumas perpetrated by this ruthless captor.
I admired my client’s courage and faith during our months of working through the horrors of his experience. He forgave those responsible but understood that he would take the painful memories of those events to his grave.
Meeting this former captor in prison was healing for him. He gave the man a Bible and some clothing then prayed for him. He said he felt no ill will toward this hard and lawless man. His prayer was genuine and without malice. I was sobered by the truth that mercy really does triumph over judgment.
Forgiveness is stronger than revenge.
And kindness is greater than cruelty.
God’s Word says,
“But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:44. And, “Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.” Romans 12:17-21.
Really brings the whole justice thing into perspective, doesn’t it? Well, that and my missionary friend’s final comment: “I am so glad that guy is locked up. I hope he never gets out of prison.”
Mercy, forgiveness and kindness are right and virtuous…