Refugees like me…

photo by mindgutter

photo by mindgutter

O Lord my God, I take refuge in you; save and deliver me from all who pursue me, or they will tear me like a lion and rip me to pieces with no one to rescue me. O Lord my God, if I have done this and there is guilt on my hands— if I have done evil to him who is at peace with me or without cause have robbed my foe— then let my enemy pursue and overtake me; let him trample my life to the ground and make me sleep in the dust.Selah Arise, O Lord, in your anger; rise up against the rage of my enemies. Awake, my God; decree justice. Let the assembled peoples gather around you. Rule over them from on high; let the Lord judge the peoples. Judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness, according to my integrity, O Most High. O righteous God, who searches minds and hearts, bring to an end the violence of the wicked and make the righteous secure. My shield is God Most High, who saves the upright in heart. God is a righteous judge, a God who expresses his wrath every day. If he does not relent, he will sharpen his sword; he will bend and string his bow. He has prepared his deadly weapons; he makes ready his flaming arrows. He who is pregnant with evil and conceives trouble gives birth to disillusionment. He who digs a hole and scoops it out falls into the pit he has made. The trouble he causes recoils on himself; his violence comes down on his own head. I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High.” (Psalm 7, NIV, emphases mine)

What a great reminder that when we cry out for judgement – we must seek it for ourselves first. It is not a ‘me against them’ or ‘us against them’ – it is us against the Lord. It is easy for pride to drive us to to respond wrongly (sinfully) both in situations where we are innocent and the more common case where we are also at least partially guilty. I long for the day when my kids will respond rightly to the ‘sins’ of their brothers or sister against them – by the time  their cases come before me – there is rarely an innocent party anymore!

This psalm puts it in perspective. When wronged, anger and self-righteousness are the usual byproducts. When another’s sin is so clearly in view, it is easy to forget or minimize our own. It is easy to desire punitive punishment and to be the means of it rather than true justice from the Lord. But we are not the measuring stick or plumb line – the Lord is. For me those cries for justice when combined with honest self-evaluation end up tempered with a desire for mercy. Mercy of course is meaningless without a clear understanding of justice. Lord, help us to do justly, love mercy, and to humbly walk with You.   You are our refuge from wickedness and evil.  Help us to see injustice as opportunity for Your fire to purify us first, as we also remember to make room and opportunity for other refugees – like me.

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1 Comment

  1. numa gomez said,

    April 11, 2009 at 11:08 am

    Excellent observation, we’re all in dire need of mercy. There are no exceptions, only degree of need. Mercy is not a blanket pardon, but a personal release of KNOWING OUR DEBT, and understanding the just sentence we deserve, but recieveing a release and acceptance from God Almighty! I was reminded of this at Good Friday service….


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