"he trusted him who judges justly"

It's strange. In my experience, Christians who emphasize Jesus' teachings about mercy and non-violence tend to ignore (or be embarrassed by?) Jesus' warnings about God's wrath and predictions of final judgment. And Christians who think it's important to emphasize God's judgment tend to also support human attempts to apply that judgment now, through force and violence, in police and military action. Jesus' example and teaching about turning the other cheek is forgotten. Why is this? Theologians speak of us being like the God we believe in. But I wonder if the reverse is true, that we shape our "God" in our own image.

Of course there is a valid scriptural (and experiential) basis for what these Christians say. But what they leave out distorts the picture and limits our ability to follow Jesus' example. Yes, we are to follow Jesus in his nonviolent, non-retaliatory suffering. And, yes, we are also to follow him in his belief (and announcements) of God's judgment and wrath.

Like I said yesterday, these are not contradictory but seem to go together, to support each other. They both appear in Jesus' teaching. And in the letters of Paul and Peter we see them connected as well:

If when you do right and suffer for it you take it patiently, you have God's approval. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. He committed no sin; no guile was found on his lips. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he trusted to him who judges justly. (1 Pt 2.20-23)
Peter directly connects Jesus' non-retaliation with his trust in God's judgment. And when Paul speaks of loving enemies, the wrath of God is mentioned in the same breath:
Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God; for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." No, "if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head." (Rom 12.19-20)

I believe God's assurances of righteous judgment (and his ability and will to carry it out) are meant to comfort and help us as we try to follow Jesus' example of loving, patient endurance. They are not meant to inflame our hearts, but to quiet them. To be the basis for our peace.