Love and Vengeance

Yesterday, Audre wrote a very good article on Love as an act of will. I highly recommend it. In it she comments:

How does love cover sin? Hatred, for example, damages the object of our hatred but it also damages us. Love isn’t an emotional, touchy-feely thing (except on Valentine’s Day); it’s an act of the will. Our will. God’s will.

Anger is a secondary result; hurt is the event that causes the anger. Search your memory for anger you’ve felt against others or the anger someone may have felt toward you. Under that anger, we’ll find the core of the matter – someone has been hurt, in whatever manifestation (physically, emotionally, psychologically, to name a few).

This is true, although it is important to realize that hatred is a destructive variant of love, not it’s opposite. The opposite of love is indifference when one simply does not care at all.

She also says, “That’s how love covers sins. It’s wrong to hate people – it damages them and it damages us.” And that is invariably true, for us as individuals, but also for groups, from a nuclear family to the nations.

For hatred for a perceived wrong leads almost invariably to vengeance, and thus we enter the circle of wrong begetting wrong, begetting further wrong ad nauseum. A never ending circle of destruction. Only one thing can stop this inevitable cycle, forgiveness, which comes from love. We, as Christians and Jews have been told this from Leviticus to Romans. But we tend to be stiff-necked people who try to act without God. But God has always told us that we should love our neighbor and to remember that vengeance is His to deal.

In the family context (if we don’t have plenty of examples in our own experience) in the musical Hamilton, where (from Jordan J. Ballor at Law and Liberty). “Rather than retribution and revenge, this narrower path is opened up by a novel phenomenon: forgiveness. We see this new dynamic at work toward the conclusion of the musical, when Eliza Schuyler Hamilton somehow finds a way forward with her husband Alexander after betrayal and grief.”

The author also comments on Hamiton’s musing about the course the Revolution will take, saying

Near the opening of the show, a young Alexander Hamilton reflects on the prospects for the movement for independence. War, it seems, is a necessity; the revolution is coming and Hamilton is committed to fighting for it. But, he wonders, “If we win our independence, is that a guarantee of freedom for our descendants? Or will the blood we shed begin an endless cycle of vengeance and death with no defendants?” […]

The dominant image called to mind by the word “revolution” is that of a wheel (from revolvere, “to revolve”) so that as the wheel turns, the cycle progresses. Those who were on the bottom end up on top and those who were on top are laid low—until the next turning of the wheel.

The problem with revolutions is that those who were on the bottom and are newly in charge very quickly use that power to tyrannize those who are now on the bottom. Using a complementary image, the Puritan Roger Williams was among those who observed that those who have been liberated from tyranny rapidly become tyrants themselves. Such hypocrites “persecute when they sit at the helm, and yet cry out against persecution when they are under the hatches” of the ship of state.

This is, of course, the normal course of revolutions, from the successors of Alexander to the French revolution to the Russian and beyond. Yet it didn’t happen in America. Somebody, I believe it was Hannah Arendt but cannot find the quote, said that revolutions are plays in three acts, but the one in America stopped after the second act. We may be witnessing the end of the intermission, now as our home-grown Jacobins attempt to destroy the settlement of 1789.

But the point remains, vengeance in any form is a reaction which leads to another reaction as things increasingly circle the drain. But forgiveness is an action on its own, a grace inspired by God’s grace to us, it has the power to reconcile, as it did in the US after the civil war. There is a reason why Paul wrote to the Romans that:

Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

About Neo
Lineman, Electrician, Industrial Control technician, Staking Engineer, Inspector, Quality Assurance Manager, Chief Operations Officer

27 Responses to Love and Vengeance

  1. audremyers says:

    This is a wonderful article! Two things have come together in this piece – the usual excellence we’ve come to expect from NEO, and now the warmth of the human behind the writing.

    And as always, I’ve learned something. When ‘Hamilton’ was a stage play, all the Liberals loved it. I’m not certain if it was for the play itself or for the actors doing the portrayals of the historical persons but because they loved it, I have avoided it all costs. Perhaps I should re-think that.

    Thank you for this; it’s a gem.

    Liked by 2 people

    • NEO says:

      Thanks. The part from Hamilron (the play) is from the link, I haven’t seen it, but it’s true enough to history as I know it.

      Liked by 1 person

    • 39 Pontiac Dream says:

      I’ve heard of Hamilton but have paid it little interest since the majority of praise coming its way are from the usual suspects. That said, the same leftists who love Hamilton heaped a ton of praise on La La Land and we love that film.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. 39 Pontiac Dream says:

    A deep and powerful article, Neo, and one I’m slightly annoyed to see today of all days – I get headaches from atmospheric pressure, you know, the sort that comes before a storm and it hasn’t yet abated so this deep and rich article, on which ordinarily I’d have liked to have gone into some depth with, I can’t. Not today anyway.

    All I will say is true love comes from the soul. God’s greatest gift to us is life but, in a twisted paradox, many of us would quite easily sacrifice that life in the name of love. I’m not talking of suicide, I’m talking about putting our lives on the line to protect someone we love in an extraordinary situation. I would do that for Tina in a heartbeat. Thinking on that, would one say that God’s greatest gift was life or love? Like I said, one that requires thinking and for me, today, my head isn’t in the right place for it.

    I will say one last thing – and please, don’t take this the wrong way (I’m not looking to antagonise) – but I find it odd to see you writing about Christian forgiveness when you believe in capital punishment (if I’m wrong about that, please feel free to correct me).

    Liked by 1 person

    • NEO says:

      There is nothing in Christianity that actually affects what justice does, a lot of this comes back to “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s”

      Liked by 1 person

      • 39 Pontiac Dream says:

        I’m still learning the ropes regarding Christianity and the Bible – Tina’s the expert in our household. Suffice to say, neither of us believe in capital punishment but that is another debate for another day.

        I did really enjoy this article and like I said, I’m gutted it didn’t pop up last week or in a week from now. It’s one that bears thinking about. Hat’s off, Dave. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          It is a think piece, Pontiac. It’s Audre’s fault hers yesterday, caused it, and there are more coming. You can always come back to it when your head is better behaved. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Nicholas says:

    You could say that the War of 1812 was the United Kingdom’s vengeance for the American Revolution, but I think that could be argued both ways. I think, between our nations there is a complicated history of praise and disagreement, which is why amity still exists (and doesn’t depending on which parts of the population one approaches). I don’t know if you saw the recent post at Cranmer about hate law in Scotland, but it seems to me that, although there is a place for forgiveness, there must also be order. When Christ returns, he cleanses the unrepentant from the earth, because their continued presence will prevent the true paradise from emerging. In the final analysis, the world is divided into the redeemed and the damned. We do our best in the current dispensation, but it can’t endure like this forever. We must eschew hatred, but we must recognise that justice must also prevail.

    Liked by 2 people

    • NEO says:

      The War of 1812 is an excellent example, in what you say, but also in its end. For there we saw and act of love overcoming vengeance on both sides, as all the outstanding disputes were transferred from casus belli, to something we should talk about and solve in conference. Which mostly, our countries did. Impressment is still on the table, because steam essentially made it obsolete, anyway, and so there was no point in beating that particular dead horse.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Nicholas says:

        I’m glad our nations were able to resolve their differences for we were and are kin. As you say, the Revolutionary War was really a civil war, and in the end our nations both reached points where government became much more dependent on the consent of the governed – although the wheel has turned back towards oligarchy/tyranny in recent years – for which i squarely blame Blair in this country. Look at the proliferation of laws and agencies and police following the zeitgeist rather than Peelian policing principles. I admire Trump’s progress but there is still a lot of work to do, and COVID has made this largely s wasted year in terms of uK reform.

        Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          In both our countries, we have lost the initiative, for now, to the Chinese flu, and that has much to do with why the reforms have slowed. If we can wrench it back, then we will progress.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Nicholas says:

          I think, come 1 Jan 2021 we should remove all lockdown measures and tell our countries to just take the risk and go back to how we were, whether or not a vaccine has been produced. By all means continue to research one in the meantime, but even these eased lockdown measures are too much – and are breading resentment, chaos, and anarchy.

          Liked by 2 people

        • NEO says:

          I don’t disagree except the date should be 15 AUG 2020.

          Liked by 2 people

        • Nicholas says:

          So much damage has been done already…

          Like

  4. 39 Pontiac Dream says:

    Nicholas – ‘lockdown measures are too much – and are breading resentment, chaos, and anarchy.’

    Human beings, like all animals, are not meant to be caged.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. JessicaHof says:

    Thank you, dearest friend. I think our politics on both side illustrate your text. It’s like ‘mutually assured destruction’ applied to politics. Both sides seem intent on demonising and destroying each other. There’s no conspiracy theory too mad to be discounted, it seems. Take our politics. I was a passionate ‘remainer,’ indeed as you know I left the UK for a while. But I never understood all the ‘Russian conspiracy’ stuff. Sure, the Russians attempted to influence the vote, but where’s the proof anyone much was influenced by it? Quite mad!

    Liked by 1 person

    • NEO says:

      Indeed it is. Ockham’s razor makes most of them unlikely, and the rest are pretty much so as well. Most of it can be laid at the door of people following their self-interest irregardless of anything else, the ‘Me generation’ has turned into a whirlwind come home to roost.

      But both of our countries must somehow defeat this if we are to remain the countries we have known and loved.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Nicholas says:

      …but boy was I glad to have NEO to talk to during the dark night of the Rump Parliament. It is incredibly lonely beings Brexiteer in a crowd of Remainers and most people don’t understand the legal side of things at all, whereas I do, being trained in both public law and EU law (and the mechanics of cross border litigation – and having worked on cross border cases).

      Liked by 2 people

      • NEO says:

        I must have faked understanding English law pretty well then – that being of course that American and English share the same base. I think Brexit was the first thing that Jess and I strongly disagreed on. It wasn’t fun, for me, and I suspect not for her either.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Nicholas says:

          No, I imagine not. It was hard for me to disagree with Chalcedon over it as indeed on this recent BLM business. I’m largely withdrawing from secular life.

          Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          I know the feeling, and if you think you must, you should. But in truth if we don’t engage now, we may never have another chance.

          Liked by 1 person

      • 39 Pontiac Dream says:

        To be honest, I’m past Brexit. So we leave on the 31st January. Will we change as a country? I don’t think so. We have a conservative party enacting Corbynista policies and the left hold the keys to all our institutions of power and influence. Nothing will change.

        I was a staunch Brexiteer fighting to spread the message in 2015 and 2016 for my then party UKIP and though I remain a Brexiteer, leaving the EU has taken a backseat to the destruction of our culture and our people. The fight for conservative values and the rights of our people, our blessed sacred isles, which is massively under threat, is now the focus point for me. I haven’t posted on a Brexit article for quite some time now because I recognise that when that day finally happens, when we leave, it’ll change nothing here. The fight for our very existence is where all of us should be. If only we could align, unite the right, we’d have a chance.

        Liked by 1 person

      • JessicaHof says:

        Good, he’s a rock for so many of us.

        Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.