Like a gentle lamb
It was the Lord who made it known to me, and I knew;
then you showed me their evil deeds.
But I was like a gentle lamb
led to the slaughter.
And I did not know it was against me
that they devised schemes, saying,
“Let us destroy the tree with its fruit,
let us cut him off from the land of the living,
so that his name will no longer be remembered!”
But you, O Lord of hosts, who judge righteously,
who try the heart and the mind,
let me see your retribution upon them,
for to you I have committed my cause. ~ Jeremiah 11:18-20
I'm not going to lie. Sometimes passages like this trouble me because they can be (and have often have been) used to justify persecution.
We all want to believe God is on our side. But have you noticed that usually two warring parties both claim God's favoritism? We see it often today: factions of Muslims claiming Allah is with them; factions of Christians condemning each other for theological differences; political parties claiming God is with them and calling the other evil for not seeing a situation the way they do.
Yeah, we all want to believe God is on our side, and quite honestly, without context, Jeremiah's language here doesn't help.
So when we feel like God is on our side over and above someone else's, and we want to use our Bibles as "proof" of that, maybe we can remember that image of the gentle lamb. There is another lamb - the one who is meant to be the lens through which we see scripture. The Lamb of God who tells us to "love our enemies" and to bless those who persecute us.
Holy One, help me to see that you are on the side of love. Amen