The Burning Coals Of Hatred
By: Elias Bejjani

September 22/2011

(1 Samuel 24/12): "May the LORD judge between you and me. And may the LORD avenge the wrongs you have done to me, but my hand will not touch you”

Both the Hebrew and Greek words translated “vengeance,” “revenge,” and “avenge” have as their root meaning the idea of punishment. This is crucial in understanding why God reserves for Himself the right to avenge. Believers should refrain from acts of revenge and let God do His work. In both the New and Old Testament God asks us to leave the revenge issues for him.

(Deuteronomy 32/35): "To me belongeth vengeance and recompense; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste". (Deuteronomy 32/36): "For the LORD will vindicate His people, and will have compassion on His servants, when He sees that their strength is gone, and there is none remaining bond or free." ".

It is a known fact that the severance of communication between people is a form of death and an evil readymade formula for bloody and destructive confrontations. When people cease to communicate with each other because of hostility, hatred, resentment, stupidity, ignorance, lack of faith, pompousness or fear of confrontation they simply abandon God Himself because in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John1-1).

How could anyone who alleges to be religious and to fear God, allow himself to assume God's work and judge others based on his/her own concepts and self made criteria for what is right and wrong, and simply put them on trial and issue verdicts against them? He who does so does not really understand Christ's teaching which said: "Don’t judge, so that you won’t be judged, for with whatever judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with whatever measure you measure, it will be measured to you (Matthew 7/1-2). Those who unlawfully give themselves this Godly right Christ calls them hypocrites.

When two individuals speak two different languages that neither of them comprehends no actual communication takes place. One of them has to learn the other's language in a bid for the communication to be productive and a two-way one, or otherwise they keep on speaking an incomprehensible Babylonian language.

In this same context righteousness and evilness are two different human qualities with two contradicting frames of mind and mentalities. Those who abandon love, become dominated by hatred, hold grudges, judge others, cease to communicate speak the language of Satan, while those who believe in God and know that He is love, speak His language of problem solving, mercy, openness, consoling, forgiveness and meekness. (Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians 13/1-3): "If I speak with the languages of men and of angels, but don’t have love, I have become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but don’t have love, I am nothing. If I dole out all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body to be burned, but don’t have love, it profits me nothing."

A proven devastating fact that is often ignored by the conceited, selfish, stubborn, childish, opinionated and stupid is that dire consequences occur when two parties become possessed with hostilities. They turn into rivals and speak the language of Satan. These two parties fall prey to a vicious cycle of hostilities and an endless cycle of retaliations. (John12/40): “He has blinded their eyes and he hardened their heart, lest they should see with their eyes, and perceive with their heart, and would turn, and I would heal them.”.

Impulsivity and anger are common human traits through which one loses control and acts stupidly without thinking of the dreadful consequences. We all know for sure that it does not take much of an effort to hate, despise, resent, act evilly or hold grudges against others, particularly those with whom we might have serious or crucial problems and conflicts with. 

At the same time, it is very primitive to act violently and take revenge by physical or emotional means against those who one believes have inflicted pain on him or unlawfully took what is his by force or fraud.

"We should aim in all our desires and expectations of deliverance, both from sin and trouble, that we may do the better service to the Lord; that we may serve Him without fear. If His grace has delivered our souls from the death of sin, He will bring us to heaven, to walk before Him forever in light." (Matthew Henry: 56:8-13)

Meanwhile, to love and forgive is a very difficult task to do. The matter needs a great deal of self control, anger taming, and nobility not to react with revenge against those who confront us with hatred, grudges and evilness, especially when they purposefully hurt us and infringe on our rights, property, and beloved ones. (Matthew 5/44): "But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you."

A well know Lebanese proverb says: "when in the woods if you are not a lion, lions will devour you". Yes, this is 100% right if we were animals, but we are not and the wood's doctrine, "the stronger eats the weaker", does not apply to human beings. Why it does not? Simply because we are God's children and He has created us in His image and we must act accordingly (Genesis 1/27): "So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them."

Our conduct ought to be righteous and not evil, civilized, peaceful, loving and shaped in a human and not in an animal manner. As God's children we are taught to love and not to hate, especially those to whom we see as enemies, and pray for those who persecute us. (Luke 6/27): "But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, and do good to those who hate you."

As God's Children, we are not supposed to take revenge no matter what, but instead forgive and leave the vengeance for God. (Romans 12/19): "Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay, says the Lord". (Leviticus 19/18): "'Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD". (Nahum1/2): "The LORD is a jealous and avenging God; the LORD takes vengeance and is filled with wrath. The LORD takes vengeance on His foes and maintains His wrath against his enemies."

As devoted believers, we are required to leave the work of  judgment for the rulers and courts even if we feel they are biased and unfair. God Himself will punish them if they do not fear Him and not perform their duties with justice. (1Peter 2/13-14): "Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.”

(Hebrews 10/30): "For we know him who said, “vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.”

There is no doubt that in this contemporary competitive and merciless society that we live in, self defense and protecting oneself and one’s interests is a lawful right, because the law does not protect those who are stupid. Self defense needs a great deal of wisdom, understanding and restraining of physical abilities by spiritual attainment. This simply means that the one who has the ability to bring great harm doesn’t mean he or she needs to use it for more than is required for self defense. Just because we can break someone’s arm, doesn’t mean we need to use that ability. Just because we have a gun doesn’t mean we need to fire on someone who breaks into the home.

Psalm 94/: "1 O LORD, the God who avenges, O God who avenges, shine forth"
The question is, when we are hurt do we have to act on our revenge impulses? Some say by taking revenge, a man is but even with his enemy; but in passing over it, he is superior.

Those possessed with hatred and grudges suffer the most. They sit on unseen burning coals that make them continuously sad, angry, hostile, miserable, unsocial and vindictive.

Let us trust in Almighty God, fear no one but Him, and beg Him to cure us from all ailments of hatred, grudges and hostilities

Psalm 56/11: "In God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?

 *Elias Bejjani
Canadian-Lebanese Human Rights activist, journalist and political commentator
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 N.B: It was initially published on April 10/2010