Posted on Thu, Aug 1, 2013
Overcoming the Reach of Revenge
Overcoming the Reach of Revenge (August)
“Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Therefore…
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” Romans 12:19-20
The vast majority of us will be offended by something or someone in our lives. As human beings with a sin nature, our natural response is to either get even with, or get over those who hurt us. Like other living things in nature, our instinct to defend ourselves and our lives will immerge like an involuntary response or reflex action. But this is the very sin nature the Lord said daily crucifixion would be required (Galatians 5:24). Indian Philosopher Mahatma Gandhi said, “An eye for an eye would make the world go blind.” Unfortunately, our “God-fearing” civilized countries, communities and churches can be the most hurtful to each other. But those of us who are “in Christ” should be the shining light on a hill, a lighthouse, an oasis or certainly a peacemaker. Placing revenge out of reach may require shorter arms and an expanded heart. Revenge may feel sweet only for a moment, but there will be no winner in the long run. A famous Dutch proverb says, “The tree of revenge does not carry fruit”. Likewise, a believer who sows, waters and reaps revenge may grieve, sadden, or quench the Fruit of the Spirit. Many counselors have said that forgiveness is for the healing of those who have been hurt. Solomon and the Apostle Paul echoed this thought when they said, “If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; for in doing so you will heap coals of fire on his head. And the Lord will reward you (Proverbs 25:21-22). You see, our rewards of peace, blessings and the favor of God will envelop us when we are obedient in avoiding revenge. Now, does this mean that we wait in eager anticipation for fiery coals to rain down on our foes, or for God’s curse on their lives, absolutely not! Not only is it our duty to forgive, but it is our obligation to pray for a blessing on the very ones that may have fiery coals heaped on their heads. Jesus suggested that we may lose our “legitimacy” as children of God if we dishonor the family name. How? Jesus said it this way, “…But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:44-45) There are many challenges and disappointments in life that we may face, but there is one thing that we should ALL live for daily…the privilege to be called sons and daughters of Jehovah without bringing shame to His household. If at the forefront of our minds we develop revenge-atrophy, then we will have the “mind of Christ” and the spirit to overcome the reach of revenge.
In His 490,
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