Reading: Psalm 7
My shield is God Most High,
who saves the upright in heart.
God is a righteous judge,
a God who displays 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.
Whoever is pregnant with evil
conceives trouble and gives birth to disillusionment.
Whoever digs a hole and scoops it out
falls into the pit they have made.
The trouble they cause recoils on them;
their violence comes down on their own heads.
I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness;
I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High.
Ah justice, sweet justice! When we take justice into our own hands, it always has a boomerang effect. I am reminded of Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner when I read these words: Whoever digs a hole and scoops it out falls into the pit they have made.
In those Saturday cartoons of my youth, poor Wile E. must have dug a hundred pits and he fell into them every time. Every clever scheme backfired catastrophically. The Roadrunner always escaped. To paraphrase the words of this psalm, the trouble Wile E. caused recoiled on him; his violence came down on his own head. Even now can you picture the anvil falling on the hapless coyote, as he lies in a crumpled heap at the bottom of the canyon? The cartoonist and the psalmist must have been reading from the same script!
Somehow we often have the mistaken impression that getting even works—that scoring points at the expense of our neighbour elevates us somehow. If snide sarcasm and putdowns elevate us, then it’s the kind of elevation we often see in cartoons. Our clever remarks run us out off the edge of a cliff, and like the cartoons, there we stand in the middle of thin air—the last one to realize we are heading down fast. That’s justice, sweet justice, Psalm 7 style.
If as this psalm states, God displays his wrath every day, it’s because we reap the reward of our sinful actions. In our selfishness, we harm instead of building up those around us. We try to pull ahead by pulling others down. It’s a strategy that’s doomed to failure. God and the Roadrunner will see to that.
Response: Heavenly Father, today show me how I can build others up instead of tearing them down. Amen.
Your Turn: Have you encouraged someone lately with a positive word? Did that bring a reward?