Revenge just the word conjures thoughts in our minds that makes us immediately say no not me. Well let’s look at the thesaurus and see some of the synonyms for revenge: retribution, settling of scores, payback, retaliation, and vindication. Oh, we are more at home with revenge than we thought. We want equality in all things and feel unfairly treated or unjustly wronged when things are not made equal. How many times have we longed for that magic day when the tables are turned and justice is served? Longing for revenge keeps us in the flesh. It requires that we continue to look at ourselves and how we are being treated. Just like in rejection we lose focus of Colossians 3 and how we stand in Christ. Maybe by now you have noticed how hampered the Holy Spirit is by the emotions that make us focus on us.
There are two common threads as we look at the negative emotions. Those are, first our own heart is deceitful and will lie to us, second, we let these emotions get a stronghold when we look at ourselves and become the victim instead of the victor. We have to keep our eyes on who our God is not what He is doing and HE must be the center of our world.
It is a fact that if you take some large species of ocean fish, some that normally grow to over 6 ft and put them in a normal desktop aquarium, they will only grow big enough to suit their environment. Although I am sure many are thankful for this fact it represents a sad larger truth. This world system (Satan) wants to shape your thinking and the course of your life and keep you in that aquarium instead of seeing you thrive and be the new creature in Christ you are meant to be. Every time you give in to the trappings of this world, you jump back in that aquarium and are controlled by those around you instead of the GOD of the universe who has wonderful plans for your life.
51And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem,
52And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him.
53And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem.
54And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?
55But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.
The disciples wanted to wipe out those who had rejected the advance preparation of Jesus ministry in the Samaritans village. I really chuckle thinking how I would abuse that fire power if I were a disciple. It would be zap city.
We have to look at what Jesus did when they responded this vindictive way to rejection? He questioned them to examine thier identity in Him. He said they had lost their focus on the task for the emotion of being rejected basically.
Jesus had to remind them don’t you know who you are? He rebuked them for thinking they should destroy people over trivial things. Rejection doesn’t end your life it only verifies that someone doesn’t accept you or your ideas. We don’t get our confidence from men so man’s opinion shouldn’t have life shattering affect on us. I like what happened after Jesus scolded them and refocused them on their mission. They went on to another village. WOW! If only we could just move on past things we can’t change or lessen the stronghold in our lives.
17Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.
18If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
19Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
20Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.
21Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
Once again when a sentence begins with a verb, the understood subject is you. We are warned to repay evil with good. The phrase :as much as lieth in you” means to depend on Christ in you and do your very best to keep peace.
Now these are hard words to swallow. Anyone divorced, or whose child has been killed by a drunk driver, or who lost a job due to someone lying, almost any violation you can think of seems to ignite a vengeful spirit in us. “I’ll get you for that!” We can also have vengeful thinking “your day is coming.” Do you know what this kind of thinking means in our lives? It means that we aren’t letting go of what was done and giving it residence by dwelling on it. It violates God’s best for us when he said to think on things that are lovely and of a good report. What does God say to do with our need for revenge, allow him to exact it.
Here’s a news flash, God knows exactly what circumstances and judgment to meet out on that individual that will punish them but in a way more like His mercy, lead them to His waiting arms. That is what we should want for those who have harmed us. Their spiritual condition is more important than a relationship with us.
This is where we all raise our hands and say. It’s hard to let go!
I think God has a sense of humor, because knowing all things, He gives us a way to really get under the skin of those who wrong us. Read vs 20 and 21. He even indicates this will have an affect on them.
I Thessalonians 5:
14Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.
15See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.
17Pray without ceasing.
18In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
19Quench not the Spirit.
20Despise not prophesyings.
21Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
22Abstain from all appearance of evil.
23And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
24Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.
I like this verse because it tells us something Christians too often forget. We are to never give evil to those who are not saved and just as important those who are the part of the body of believers. We are to trust Christ with the entire matter knowing that God loves that person and is working in their life. Be faithful stay the course. Expect to be misunderstood.
I Peter 2:23-25
So many times over my years of teaching, there were times I could have really blasted a kid caught in an offense. Yet my patience and kindness, even bearing their obnoxious attitude, always won them over. I don’t know how many in my life have later told me that they knew I loved them by my actions. I am not talking about letting someone violate you. I am talking about picking your battles with this thought in mind. How will this best glorify God and represent my Lord when I handle this situation. This leads us to the next point. How do we handle matters that offend us.
I Corinthians 6:1-8
We have to be careful that the world doesn’t set the tone for how we handle matters with others. We live in a dog eat dog culture. The name of the Lord gets dragged through the mud every time anyone claiming anything to do with God fails to be careful in their dealings with others. How many times do we hear in the news that so and so was this or that in the church.
One of the first things a Christian needs to do is stop the score keeping. You will never be able to even the score by getting another person to act as you think you should. As a matter of fact this often backfires. Proverbs 26:27. Revenge really belongs in the hands of GOD who knows mans heart and can justly give due recompense of reward. Proverbs 20:22. Let God be your righteousness-dikaiosune.
Dear One, I love you and pray for you daily.