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Meekness Under Provocation

Meekness is especially difficult when provoked and persecuted! Mirsolav Volf shares his experiences of interrogation in communist Yugoslavia and his ability to forgive those who harshly persecuted him. He recognizes that the Christian’s ability to meekly endure hardship and persecution is his understanding of divine vengeance. He writes in Exclusion and Embrace:

My thesis is that the practice of non-violence requires a belief in divine vengeance…My thesis will be unpopular with man in the West…But imagine speaking to people (as I have) whose cities and villages have been first plundered, then burned, and leveled to the ground, whose daughters and sisters have been raped, whose fathers and brothers have had their throats slit…Your point to them – we should not retaliate? Why not? I say, the only means of prohibiting violence by us is to insist that violence is only legitimate when it comes from God…Violence thrives today, secretly nourished by the belief that God refuses to take the sword…It takes the quiet of a suburb for the birth of the thesis that human nonviolence is a result of a God who refuses to judge. In a scorched land – soaked in the blood of the innocent, the idea will invariably die, like other pleasant captivities of the liberal mind…if God were NOT angry at injustice and deception and did NOT make a final end of violence, that God would not be worthy of our worship.

Our ability to endure suffering, forgive our persecutors, and bring the Gospel to them is founded in the understanding that God will one day right all wrongs. And since God will take up the sword, we should pray for and seek to bring reconciliation to anyone who risks encountering His justice. Vengeance is the Lord’s – meekness is the Christian’s.