The Avenger: God
When someone wrongs us, should we seek revenge?
What do you do when someone wrongs you, picks on you, is mean to you, mistreats you, teases you, hassles you or hurts you? The first thing I want to do is bite back, to retaliate. But is this right?
Because God is a 'God of justice', the idea that when someone does something wrong they deserve a penalty is firmly entrenched in the Bible. It is also human instinct, that when a person does wrong, something should be done about it. Justice should prevail. Someone “should pay”. However, it is not up to us to avenge the wrong. Romans 12:19 says that this is God’s job. He is The Avenger.
Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.
It is not our job to take matters into our own hands and seek revenge (this is what “avenge” means). We are not to retaliate, but leave it up to God. God is The Avenger and He will bring true justice. God will not “fly off the handle”, or “lose his cool” as we often do when we try to avenge a wrong. God will do the right thing at the right time. God might choose to act now, via governing authorities that he has established on earth (Romans 13:1-5). Or, God might wait until people stand before Him on the last day. Either way, God is The Avenger.
So what do we do in the meantime? We follow the radical command to overcome evil with good. Romans 12:20-21;
On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
We should be intentionally kind, generous and loving to enemies. Our kindness might just bring our enemies to cause them to think, bring them to shame, or even lead them to repentance.
Of course, this is really hard to do. You will need to ask God to strengthen you by His Holy Spirit. You will need to keep the big picture in mind. You will need to remember God’s mercy to you and see this response as an act of worship to God (Romans 12:1). And you will need to follow the example of Jesus and entrust yourself to God (1 Peter 2:21-23).
There are to be no Avengers, just one Avenger: God.
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