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I once had a post entitled: Zap them God! Break their teeth! The imprecatory Psalms – in which I discuss different ways to understand the imprecatory or “cursing” Psalms. Take a look.

I was recently going through some old Christianity Today magazines, and came across an interview with NT Wright about his book on the Psalms. Here is one question and Wright’s answer, related to lament or cursing Psalms. (Sept 2013 issue, page 79)

Much of the Psalms, especially the songs of lament, can be unnerving. What should we make of these raw, brutal pleas? Can we pray, with Psalm 139, that God would “slay the wicked”?

(My auto-correct changed wicked to weekend. Good thing I caught it. God, please don’t slay the weekend! But in all seriousness, here is Wright’s brief answer – keeping in mind he wrote a book and this is a one-page interview. Emphasis added by me.)

Human beings find themselves overcome, from time to time, by extreme anger and hatred. These emotions shouldn’t determine how we live. But we must have a way of saying, “Yes, that is actually where I am right now.” And the safest place to do this is in God’s presence. The Psalms offer a way of worshiping amid all the emotional states.

They also help us see that God wants a world in which there will be no evil. If there is injustice, if the poor are being oppressed, then it is right to pray that God will rid the world of that. Part of our reaction to the so-called “cursing” Psalms is that we think the modern world basically has the problem of evil solved. The Psalms bring us up short and say, “No, evil is real, and some people are so wicked that we simply must wish judgment upon them.”

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