Tuesday, May 22, 2012
“Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord” (Romans 12:19 KJV).
Today’s Scripture explains that God Himself will ultimately take vengeance on those who harm us. Its context explains how it is our responsibility as Christians to let God’s grace teach us how to handle that mistreatment.
“Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men” (verse 17). When people do us wrong, our flesh wants to retaliate, to get even, but God’s Word exhorts us to “recompense to no man evil for evil.” (Note: Please understand that God instituted government, and He encourages us to seek legal intervention in severe cases of wrongdoing [Romans 13:1-5]).
As Christians living in a fallen (corrupted) creation, we will suffer abuse and injustice. “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men” (verse 18). Because of sin, unity and peace are not always possible. But, it is our responsibility to get along with others as best as we can (without compromising God’s Word, of course).
When someone does offend us, grace teaches us that God will ultimately exact vengeance on the guilty (today’s Scripture). “Therefore [consequently] if thine enemy hunger, feed him: if he thirst, give him drink: for in doing so thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good” (verses 20,21; cf. Proverbs 25:21,22; Matthew 5:44; Luke 6:27,28).
We can let evil “overcome” (defeat) us (grudges, bitterness, et cetera), or we can defeat evil by doing good to those who have harmed us (especially if they are Christians; Galatians 6:10). “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32). We need not repay evil for evil: by faith, we send that mistreatment to Christ’s cross, we forgive it, and we move on (lest it be a hindrance).
Beloved, we need not avenge ourselves, for “vengeance belongeth unto the Lord.”