God of Vengeance or God of Mercy?

Many people wish that their oppressors could vanish or go to hell. That is human self survival and selfish instinct at work-for the sources of pain to be eliminated. However, invoking God to join in the battle against real or imagined enemy is stretching self survival impulse to an appalling level.

Mischaracterization of the nature of God arises when those who claim that God is on their side triumph. When a person who claims God wins, it is not because God had joined him to slaughter his enemies; it is because extreme fury mixed with a bowl of a misguided understanding of God can transform the underdog into an intrepid warrior, which does cow some adversaries into defeat and submission.

Twice in two weeks, I held up narratives at the junctions where the storyteller surmised that it was God that struck down their enemies.

God to me is a God of mercy and not a God of vengeance. Besides, it is brazen for any human to believe that they can read the mind of God. This view ushered in a wave of pandemonium within the gathering. Every eavesdropper tuned in to engage in the dialogue.

The two stories centered at workplaces. The narrators were wronged by their colleagues. Then, God of vengeance afflicted these evil co-workers with deadly ills and major calamity.

What kind of God would join forces with the self-righteous in order to eliminate the wicked? That is not my perception of God. Nonetheless, many people in the group hold this view about God.

The notion that God would slash our enemies is not only immoral but also nonspiritual. It has vengeance written all over; it might as well be called a malevolence theology.

Vengeance theology is not new. The focus on an antagonist worthy of destruction gets the blood boiling and adrenaline surging. It raves up the congregation. Famous and obscure preachers offer prayers that would defeat all adversaries and crush all enemies.

Granted, there are as many vengeful quotations in the bible as there are forgiving ones. Still, Jesus, not only overwhelmingly preached forgiveness; he lived it. He forgave those who pounded him and later killed him. He excoriated the rich but did not exempt them from partaking in the forgiveness of sins through death.

More so, while preaching at the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus charged us among other things to turn the other cheek when we are slapped on one cheek, to love our enemies, to love those who dislike us and to pray for those who say evil things about us.

It is understandable in a social sense, that, in a world where competition for food, money and position is stiff, people wish that their rivals would just disappear. Where they are incapable of achieving this outcome, they want God to intervene on their behalf.

Therefore, until the poor become rich, until the enslaved are free, and until there is abundance for all, there will always be a craving for the almighty to intercede.

Do not bring God into these jungle fights. The oppressors need to be confronted in a fair and direct way. Their powers need to be challenged; their brutality neutralized, their greed curtailed, and their values questioned here on earth.

End

Dr Anselm Anyoha is the Author of two new books. They can be found at: http://www.dranyoha.com/
http://outskirtspress.com/automatedman/

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