LEAVING REVENGE WHERE IT WORKS BEST

October 25, 2019

LEAVING REVENGE WHERE IT WORKS BEST


It’s the most natural thing in the world. When we get hurt there is a reflex action: we want to hurt the one who hurt us. This started on the playground and for many, it never really stops. In fact, many just get more proficient in dealing out revenge.

TYPES OF REVENGE

Hopefully, most of us have progressed beyond using our fists to hurt others when we’ve been hurt. But we have ways that are even more destructive. We gossip and slander to pull others’ reputations down. We ignore people or withdraw. Or, we often lash out in anger, venting our spleen. And we somehow think this will help. In reality, all it does is place us in a prison of bitterness and complicate our relationships with all those around us. Hurting people hurt people.

A MATURE BELIEVER’S RESPONSE

Paul had many enemies who did things to him that were far worse than most of us will ever encounter. He consistently modeled another response.

Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. Be on guard against him yourself, for he vigorously opposed our teaching. (2 Timothy 4:14-15)

Paul did not feel the need to retaliate and “make him pay.” He was following the advice he gave the Romans …

Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. (Romans 12:19)

And, the model of his Master ...

For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously. (2 Peter 2:21-23)

The wise believer knows that God will make all the necessary adjustments to any who have hurt them. And, He will do it in the perfect way and the perfect time. God can be trusted to bring correction where correction is needed. The believer doesn't have to burden himself with that responsibility.

Forgiveness is, in reality, transferring the responsibility for revenge from our courtroom to the courtroom of heaven. Leaving it in God's hands. We are to always forgive and love those who have hurt us and pray for God’s mercy and salvation for our offenders. We are to forgive everyone, just as Jesus has forgiven us (Ephesians 4:32)

The true believer is able to do this because Christ lives in them in the person of the Spirit. All the love the believer needs is found in Christ. When we are filled with the Spirit, the Spirit produces the fruit of love in and through our lives—even toward our enemies (Galatians 5:16-23).

A COUNTER-CULTURE TESTIMONY

There could be no more profound witness. And, it should begin in our homes and our churches, then to those who hurt us in our schools, workplaces, and communities.

Anyone can love those who love them, Jesus said on the Sermon on the Mount. But the most profound witness is to genuinely love—and respond in love—to those who hate and persecute us, leaving vengeance in the hands of a perfect Judge.





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