Loving Vengeance?

Is there any room for vengeance in love?

Vengeance- punishment inflicted or retribution exacted for an injury or wrong.

How on earth can this action be loving? :shrug:

No. Vengeance in itself is driven by hate and evil. Peace.

NOT if it’s done according to Jesus:thumbsup:

Does bringing someone to justice count?

I was hoping someone would reconcile 1 John 4:8 with such verses as Hebrews 10:30. Vengeance just sounds so ugly. Yet our God is a vengeful, jealous God. Its hard to reconcile in my mind.
I suppose most of you will skirt the issue by stating that Gods vengeance is righteous. Then we must suppose that some aspect of vengeance must be a loving act perpetrated by a God who is love personified.
Interesting how no one yet has mentioned God and vengeance together. Sometimes I wonder that so many have built up such a romanticized view of Christianity, compartmentalizing our views of Good and Evil, and what acts belong to which of them.

Dear setarcos,

The Bible often uses language that is familiar to our experience, in order to communicate concepts or notions that we may find hard to understand.

Thus, when the Bible says God is “vengeful”, it does not mean that He bears grudges, throws tantrums, and so on. Rather, it is an anthropomorphism to refer to His Justice.

The Book of Wisdom (ch. 11: 17 - ch. 12) has a very beautiful reflection on God’s Justice and his long-suffering, even against hardened sinners like the Canaanites.

Thus, it is not impossible to speak of vengeance as being an act of love if such an act is motivated by justice and a desire to protect the innocent and punish the hardened, “repeat offender” who squanders the mercies shown to him by God.

What did you have in mind?

Do you follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, setarcos?

For Jesus, the rejection of violence can also imply renouncing a legitimate right; and He gives some examples of this: turning the other cheek, giving one’s cloak or one’s money, accepting other sacrifices. But this renunciation does not mean that the demands of justice are ignored or contradicted: no, on the contrary, Christian love, which manifests itself in a special way in mercy, represents a higher realisation of justice. What Jesus wants to teach us is the clear distinction we must make between justice and vengeance – to distinguish between justice and vengeance. Revenge is never just. We are permitted to ask for justice; it is our duty to practice justice. However we are forbidden from taking revenge or in some way fomenting vengeance, inasmuch as it is an expression of hatred and violence.


Wise words indeed, thank you for your reply.
If you would so indulge me with your further patience I’d like to share some thoughts.
Communication must encompass experience this is true, lest no meaningful information may be passed between the transmitter and the receiver. Lack of experience though does not bar one from understanding as long as the communication is comprehensible by the recipient with experience in time.
Fortunately for us when God communicates with man he communicates within mans comprehensible experience. When Gods inspired word states that Vengeance is mine he is using a comparable understanding of the act of vengeance with mans. Else he wouldn’t need to claim it to be his as apposed to ours. For how can one claim from another that which not capable of being claimed by the other? It is a claim of authority not ability.

Using anthropomorphism as a reason for misunderstanding Gods claims will tend to spiral in on itself. For instance when God says…“he so loved the world…” do we say that Gods love is an anthropomorphism of our understanding of love and may be completely misunderstood when applying it to God? If we cannot comprehend how love is meant to be applied to Gods experience then how can we truly say we know how much he loves us? Are we doomed to apply anthropomorphism to every attribute and aspect of Gods actions and communications with us? Is so we could never be closer to our so called personal God than those in Hell. We’d be nothing more than reacting uncomprehendingly to rewards and punishments. Were we not made in the image of God so that God works within mans experience when communicating comprehensible concepts with us? Didn’t God anthropomorphize himself in a sense when he became fully human? Greeks anthropomorphized their Gods through their own reasoning. Are we to follow the same path? Christians don’t understand God better through anthropomorphism. God is eternally ineffable in that respect. Because of this God reaches down to man to impart to him what he would that we should know of him.

Greetings and blessings be upon you always.
Yes I know the teachings of Jesus and try to follow them to the best of my ability.
The question isn’t about man and how men are to behave except as a reflection of God and his relationship to mans behavior. According to the bible God has included in his nature all the traits that man has. For instance, God hates, loves, takes vengeance, is moved to pity, feels sorrow, jealousy, and can be sorry for what he’s done.

It is not just to seek vengeance simply because God has claimed vengeance as his own. We have been deprived of the authority. We used to have it…“an eye for an eye…” but God now claims that authority for himself. Justice is never lost because it is in the hands of God. Is this what you mean by higher realization of justice? Mans revenge isn’t just for this reason and because mans revenge isn’t perfect. Mistakes are made. Gods revenge is just because of his perfection. Revenge by the way does not necessarily entail vindictiveness or hatred. Though it can include hatred of the evil being revenged.

How do we justify Gods love with his vengeance…see my other posts for some thoughts.

Dear Setarcos,

You raise a very interesting point.

It is true that some liberal interpreters of the Bible have gone overboard with the notion of anthropomorphism.

However, one cannot deny that the concept exists in some sections of Scripture. For example, in the epistle to the Romans, Saint Paul speaks of God being angry, and then adds “I am speaking as men do.” In other words, he is using the human experience of anger to refer to God’s justice in punishing the reprobate, but he is not implying that God literally “spits the dummy” or goes red in the face. :smiley:

Similarly, in the Old Testament, we sometimes hear of God “repenting”. This does not mean that God has sinned and needs to repent (horribile dictu!) or that His will is changeable (as the heretical “Open Theism” doctrine posits), but rather that in certain cases, His decrees are conditional - if we make reparation for our sins, He is merciful and ready to defer or even nullify a threatened punishment.

The key is, of course, to only employ this notion insofar as it is supported by the Church Fathers and other sound Catholic exegetes. :slight_smile:

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