How should you and how do you react when another person hurts you and deeply offends you?
Fortunately for us, our private, most intimate thoughts in these kinds of situations rarely become public. Unfortunately, sometimes they do!
Wanting retribution, payback or even taking vengeance might be the all-too-human recourse. However, we who walk as Christians are enjoined by a much different provision: “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord” (Romans 12:19).
How did Jesus Christ apply and live by this command? Quite simply, He approached everything He did with an attitude of love—outgoing concern even for those who mistreated Him and then even caused His death. Furthermore, He left it to God—He submitted Himself completely to God’s perfect Will, to God’s promise of ultimate justice!
The Church of God was founded with procedures that govern the relationships we all have—whether among the body of believers or those who are on the outside. Ask yourself (please, make this very, very personal): “Am I taking from God what is His? Am I trying to get back at someone for something that they did to me? Is there a person or are there people to whom I would wish harm or even death?”
Consider once again Romans 12:17-21, but this time in its broader context:
“Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceable with all men. 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.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Just imagine that an example such as this might help someone to change, to be sorry, to right his or her way of living! Just think about the impact that godly love might have on someone who isn’t obedient to God. In fact, it is our opportunity to perhaps even assist God in that which is His ultimate goal for humankind:
“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).