The Bible presents us with some hard reading at points! One place is Psalm 137. The people cry out terrible words of vengeance about their enemies. These were written by God’s people when their homes had been destroyed, many killed, and many others taken into forced exile by the Babylonians.

The fact that those thoughts are in the Bible isn’t suggesting that they are right and good. It is simply recording the fact that they are real, and that they happen. These cries are how human beings spontaneously respond in deep pain. We can’t know that our gut-reaction would not be the same in the same situation. 

The Australian Aboriginal people confront us with a cry of their pain. As non-Aboriginal people, it too is uncomfortable for us to listen to at points. Some of it we may be able to understand, but much of it we will not because our experience has been nothing like theirs. 

Psalm 137 was a prayer to God the Father. He didn’t shut His ears nor strike back in anger, but heard it all, and responded in mercy. As those who have received God’s mercy, we too need to be willing to hear the cries of those in pain.

Jesus Christ suffered and was crushed by terrible injustice from His oppressors. He received the punishment that injustice deserves, to pay for and forgive it.  This enables us as Christians to forgive and work for reconciliation.

Grace and peace, Jonathan.