Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.
I assume that you haven’t made it this far in life without someone hurting you deeply or treating you badly. When it happened, how did you respond? Did you get even? Did you seek revenge?
The desire to retaliate for wrong doing from others is a natural response. You hit. I hit back. I suppose the evolution crowd would claim such behavior can be linked to the days when cavemen were attacked by dinosaurs and they had to fight back for survival.
Revenge stems from anger, an emotion given by God. And just like all human emotions and desires, we must learn to control it.
Newborn babies come into the world as cute little balls of emotion. The slightest thing sets them off. Eventually, they learn that excessive use of certain emotions helps them get what they want. Thus, hissy fits in the cereal aisle at the grocery store. But as they grow older, if we are so fortunate, they learn to control their emotions. We call that maturity.
Emotions and desires can be controlled, but it is unhealthy to deny them. Deep hurt and all its emotional manifestations must be dealt with. Like we say to a hurting friend who’s fighting back tears, “Let it out.”
But what about revenge? That is unresolved anger with a specific target. Someone has wronged us and we want to inflict at least as much havoc as they have inflicted upon us. As that feeling boils inside us, it plots and looks for payback sufficient to give relief from our agony.
Then God says, “Do not repay anyone evil for evil.” (Romans 12:17) And you decide it’s okay to retaliate if you can find a way to do it without committing an evil act.
While you contemplate your non-evil revenge, God speaks again.
Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. Romans 12:19
Please don’t miss this. When you come to grips with this amazing revelation, it will help relieve that pressure building up inside you to retaliate. Look passed the instruction, “Do not take revenge.” Even beyond “… leave room for God’s wrath.” Focus your attention on the Lord’s words, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay.”
Did you catch that? God says, “Let me handle it. I’ve got it. I’ll take it from here. You don’t have to do a thing.”
Will He really do that? Will God really settle the score?
The Lord didn’t say “maybe.” He said, “I will…”
But how? How will He repay?
We’re not given a specific answer. So anything would be speculation. But we do know that God’s ways are not our ways. He can perform beyond human limitations. He has all power, knowledge, and wisdom at His disposal. That means that His solution will be vastly superior to anything we could come up with.
Not only can we not know how God will repay, we can’t know when. We’re just told that He will.
There’s an admonition in Romans 12:14 that is worthy of note. “… bless and do not curse.” Instead of returning evil for evil, hurt for hurt, pain for pain — BLESS.
Rather than cursing your enemies, bless them. Leave the consequences for their grievous actions up to God. Beyond that, pray for them to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Pray that their salvation will change them so much that they will never commit an evil act against anyone again.
For more on this topic, check out this article: Your Thorn of Trouble that Won’t Go Away
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 2 (April – June) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.