Monday, December 08, 2008

0 Flavel on Vengeful Thoughts When Wronged

A friend of mine and I are reading (long distance, by means of internet video conferencing - what a Godsend!) through John Flavel's "Keeping the Heart", which can be found in volume 5 of The Works of John Flavel - a set to be picked up if you love the Puritan style of devotional writing. Flavel is just superb.

In this treatise, in Flavel expounds upon the notion of heart-work, or watching or "keeping the heart" in times in which one is sorely tempted to lose focus on keeping a Godly frame. A particularly striking passage is one in which he addresses the times in which we receive abuses or persecution from others for our faith. He asks a question in his discussion of such times that is valuable for us to consider, particularly when we feel very rightly that we've been wronged and are wont to claim our right to "righteous anger". The question is:
Well, then, awe your hearts with the authority of God in these Scriptures [Proverbs 20:22, 24:29, 25:21Rom. 12:17,19.] and when carnal reason saith, mine enemy deserves to be hated, let conscience reply, but doth God deserve to be disobeyed? Thus and thus he hath done, and so he hath wronged me; but what hath God done that I should wrong him? If he dare be so bold to break the peace, shall I be so wicked to break the precept? If he fears not to wrong me, shall I fear not to wrong God? (p. 469, vol. 5, The Works of John Flavel)
Let that one sink in a while... it will take the edge off much anger felt when you are sinned against.



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