Monday, September 17, 2012


“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.”

-Romans 12:19

                As humans we tend to be impatient and take certain matters into our own hands. When we get angry at someone, we try to take revenge-something that isn’t our duty to do. When we try to avenge what someone did to us or to someone we cared deeply for, we are taking away one of God’s rights and giving it to ourselves. When we are angry, and attempt to avenge ourselves, we should remember, therefore, that we are infringing on the prerogatives of the Almighty.

                To "avenge" is to take satisfaction for an injury by inflicting punishment on the offender. To take such satisfaction for injuries done to society, is lawful and proper for a magistrate; Romans 13:4. And to take satisfaction for injuries done by sin to the universe is the province of God. But the apostle here is addressing private individual Christians. And the command is, to avoid a spirit and purpose of revenge. But this command is not to be so understood that we may not seek for "justice" in a regular and proper way before civil tribunals. If we are forced to go against our faith, if we are oppressed contrary to the law of the land, religion does not require us to submit to such oppression and injury without seeking our rights in an orderly and regular manner. If it did, it would be to give a premium to iniquity, to countenance wickedness, and require a man, by becoming a Christian, to abandon his rights.

“Learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of
the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.”

-Isaiah 1:17

                Besides, there is a leader who is appointed for the praise of those who do well, and to punish evil-doers(…or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right; 1 Peter 2:14). Further, our Lord Jesus did not surrender his rights to man. The command here "to leave room for God’s wrath" means, that we are not to take it out of the hands of God, or the hands of the law, and to inflict it ourselves. It is well known that where there are no laws, vengeance is pursued by individuals in a barbarous and unrelenting manner. In a state of savage society, vengeance is "immediately taken," if possible, or it is pursued for years, and the offended man is never satisfied until he has covered his hands in the blood of the offender. But Christianity seeks the authority of the laws; and in cases which do not admit or require the interference of the laws, in private assaults and quarrels, it demands that we bear injury with patience, and commit our cause unto God. To "leave room," then, is to leave it for God to come in and execute wrath or vengeance on the enemy. Do not execute wrath; leave it to God and commit all to him; leave yourself and your enemy in his hands, assured that he will vindicate you and punish him. Psalm 140 is a great example of giving the punishment of oppressors to the Lord.

“Deliver me, O Lord, from the evil men
preserve me from men of violence;
who devise evil plans in their hearts
and stir up war every day.
They make their tongues as sharp as a serpent’s;
the poison of vipers is on their lips.

Keep me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked;
protect me from the men of violence
who plan to trip my feet.
Proud men have hidden a snare for me;
they have spread out the cords of their net
and have set traps for me along my path.

O Lord, I say to you, ‘You are my God.’
Hear, O Lord, my cry for mercy.
O Sovereign Lord, my strong deliverer,
who shields my head in the day of battle­—
do not grant the wicked their desires, O Lord;
do not let their plans succeed,
or they will become proud.

Let the heads of those who surround me
be covered with the trouble their lips have caused.
Let burning coals fall upon them;
may they be thrown into the fire,
into miry pits never to rise.
Let slanderers not be established in the land;
may disaster hunt down men of violence.

I know that the Lord secures justice for the poor
and upholds the cause of the needy.
Surely the righteous will praise your name
and the upright will live before you.”

-Psalm 140

                Deuteronomy 32:35-43 declares that the Lord will take vengeance upon those who deserve it. Its design is to assure us that those who deserve to be punished shall be and those who deserve to be vindicated will be; and that, therefore, the business of revenge may be safely left in the hands of God. Though "we" should not do it, yet if it ought to be done, it will be done. This assurance will sustain as, not in the "desire" that our enemy shall be punished, but in the belief that "God" will take the matter into his own hands; that he can administer it better than we can; and that if our enemy "ought" to be punished, he will be. "We," therefore, should leave it all with God. It may take a day or it may take several years, for the person who oppressed you to receive their just punishment, but patience and trust in God is key.

“Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people,
but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.”

-Leviticus 19:18

“Rejoice, O nations, with his people, for he will avenge the blood of his servants;
he will take vengeance on his enemies and make atonement for his land and people.”

-Deuteronomy 32:43

“God is jealous, and the Lord revenges; the Lord revenges, and is furious; the Lord will take

 vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserves wrath for his enemies”

-Nahum 1:2

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