There’s a man in the neighborhood who goes by “Squirrel.” I can’t explain why that’s his nickname, but if you met him you would understand.
Squirrel comes in and out of the Outpost several times a day to refill his coffee and offer his suggestions and opinions.
One morning, Squirrel came in with a serious look on his face and asked to speak to me in private.
As we sat back in a back room, he detailed his dilemma.
See, Squirrel often attends community meals and soup kitchens to eat, volunteer, and offer his assistance wherever he can. He wants to see the community become a better place and he’s constantly brainstorming ideas to this end.
Imagine Squirrel’s frustration, then, to constantly see drug runners distributing substances to those who attend these community meals.
“I’m sick of it!” Squirrel told me, “I’ll tell you right now, I see this guy at every meal and I know what he’s doing. I’m not okay with it.”
“That’s tough,” I told him. Profound, I know.
Squirrel kept going, “What I need from you is a pastoral word to calm me down, because I’m about ready to go ice-pick these sons of [guns].”
I must have laughed when he said this because Squirrel looked at me, stone-faced, and said, “I’m not joking. I’ve talked to the police and they aren’t doing anything. It’s time to take matters into my own hands and I’m about to ice-pick this guys.”
Thankfully, the Holy Spirit brought Matthew 13 and the parable of the weeds to mind. I told the parable to Squirrel, emphasizing Jesus’ point that judgment and vengeance belong to God and, in the meantime, we must endure it faithfully.
Squirrel nodded his head, “Okay, that’ll hold me off for now. That’s what I needed. I feel a little less stressed.”
Then we prayed and went about our day.
Now, I don’t know if Squirrel would have actually tried to kill anyone. And I’m certain that he wouldn’t succeed if he tried, as he’s getting older and has several physical disabilities.
But I know that the truth of scripture spoke to him in his moment of vengeful distress, and for that I am grateful.
The moral of the story?
Those seeking violent vengeance might just want God to talk them out of it.