From Romans we read,
- 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 – NASB)
“Revenge,” a very powerful term. The English word is defined as, “to exact punishment or expiation for a wrong on behalf of, esp. in a vindictive spirit; i.e., ‘to revenge a murdered brother;’ to inflict pain or harm for; an opportunity to retaliate or gain satisfaction.”
The fallen world in which we live sees many instances when, because of crimes or injustices that have taken place, there is a desire to “take (our) own revenge.” Within a man and a woman, differing in degrees of course according to the particular individual, is this desire that when wronged it is necessary to get even, to right the wrong, to make sure someone pays for the act or acts that have violated their life or the lives they have some special interest in.
- I might add here that as our justice system continues to spiral downward (more and more seeming to work for the rights of the criminal rather than for those of the victim or victims) it creates, in many instances, a lack of justice in dealing with those who commit evil acts and thus, the victims or those related or close to the victims sense a strong compulsion to balance the scales, and they seek their “own revenge.” The justice system is supposed to protect the law-abiding citizen, but the judges and the courts and the lawyers have filled volumes of books with twists and turns in the law that actually serve the accused more readily than the victim.
Hollywood for years has produced image after image depicting someone attempting to gain “revenge” for something that has occurred in their life, to exact their “vengeance” on those who have wronged them. Usually the occurrence is one that is of the nature that it strikes an emotional cord with the audience. For instance, in an old western movie, produced several years back, a man is on the trail of a gang of bad guys, for they have murdered his wife and child. The name of the movie is, An Eye For An Eye. Such scenarios prick at our emotions and we find ourselves not only wanting the person to gain “revenge” but also to actually see the act of “vengeance” carried out on those who have committed the evil deed.
I can relate with all of this from my own personal standpoint, having watched many a movie or heard of some real-life situation where my emotions are so stirred up over some terrible injustice committed that I find myself saying in my mind, “Get that crud! Make a quick end to him!” The emotional element can be very strong that moves us to seek our “own revenge,” to seek “vengeance.”
But the Bible counsels us in this matter by saying,
- “For we know Him who said, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay.'” (Hebrews 10:30 – NASB)
Twice in the New Testament the Old Testament text from Deuteronomy (32:35) is quoted. To the Israelites and to the body of Christ comes the message that “vengeance,” as it should be administered, belongs to God, He “will repay” and He will do so rightly and justly. I am of the mind that James speaks to this in his letter when he notes to us,
- “. . . for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:20 – NKJV)
Brethren, “an eye for an eye” was never intended to be a permission slip for a person seeking to gain their “own revenge.” Quite simply, it was a part of a standard intended to insure even-handed collective practices for a society, namely, at that time, Israel. One who seeks to employ this text for “revenge” purposes needs to read Matthew 5:38-42.
“Vengeance” . . . . could it be that our version of it, if sought to be carried out, will be tainted by our sin? One thing we know for sure, God’s “vengeance” is always right and we are assured He will, as they say, right the ship. He “will repay.”
To the Thessalonian believers God said,
- “For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you . . . dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. And these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power . . .” (II Thessalonians 1:6-9 – NASB)
Do you believe that brethren? Do you believe that “it is only just for God to repay?” Do you believe He “will repay?” His Word says so . . . . “‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.”
Have a good day brethren . . . and beware of the world and its never-ending evil system that seeks to turn us into a people that live by our emotions rather than by the written Word of God.
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