Monday, January 5, 2015

Vengeance is the Lord's

“Friends, do not avenge yourselves; instead, leave room for His wrath. For it is written: Vengeance belongs to Me; I will repay, says the Lord” (Romans 12:19).

Brief note: Like many of you, we shared the same expectation of hearing from the Lord what His message would be to us this new year. My family and I sought the Lord Jesus for more than two weeks for a Word on this matter. Instead of heeding to our request, He said that His Word and message is not influenced by seasons on the human calendar, and we must just abide in His will and be obedient. We therefore encourage you, brethren, to continue your focus on the Lord and be faithful. As always, it is our delight in Christ to share with you without reservation whatever vision or message He gives us for your edification. Therefore, please continue to pray for this ministry and be patient in Jesus’ name.

Revenge is Hatred

Naturally, the spirit of revenge is well embedded in all of us. This is driven by our desire for retributive justice. As it is, when we seek justice for ourselves against a cause or someone, our appreciation for justice is influenced by our feelings which may give rise to injustice against the other party. For example, as part of the due process of law, most courts carefully examine all available evidence in a bid to establish truth before making a conclusion and awarding a decision for or against the accused or accuser. While our human courts are limited in establishing the truth fully in most matters of dispute, their decisions still play a crucial role in society in enforcing positive actions while discouraging self-motivating negative reactions.

Biblically, God commands us not to pursue revenge against someone who has wronged us (Leviticus 19:18; Romans 12:17). Instead, He commands us to overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21). Understandably, when we are wronged, we argue in our defense and often our motive is to mete out what we think or believe is due revenge. By commanding us not to seek revenge, the Lord knows that hatred is what motivates us, which is evil. At best, revenge is an expression of hatred and when we express it through revenge, we leave no room for forgiveness.

Furthermore, kindly allow me to clarify a point: it is always good to forgive an offender unconditionally; however, we are not commanded by the Lord not to pursue justice through our courts. When we pursue a matter legally, our motive should be to seek justice and not revenge. We allow an independent person to decide a matter between us and an offender in the interest of peaceful co-habitation. There are various teachings in the Bible on social justice (Exodus 18:24-26; 1 Kings 3:16-28; 2 Samuel 15:2; Isaiah 1:17). Additionally, we should point out that the justice system is often rife with corruption, and in many cases there is perversion of justice (Habakkuk 1:4); this practice is displeasing to the Lord and is an abomination (Deuteronomy 16:19; 19:15; Exodus 23:8; Proverbs 17:18).

Please note that the apostle Paul instructed the believers in Corinth believers not to sue one another or file lawsuits in courts, because it was an indication of being completely defeated spiritually (1 Corinthians 6:1-8). Indeed, Christian believers should be a light in the world, and this includes forgiving one another and being reconciled. However, there are situations where taking someone to court might be the right action to take. In addition to the reason(s) mentioned in the previous paragraph, pursuing legal recourse might be prudent when the offending party stubbornly refuses to listen even after he/she has been approached by both the offended party and the body of believers (Christian church) to which the person belongs (Matthew 18:15-17).

Truthfully, most movies use revenge as an angle to convey a message of serving the innocent with justice. They subtly provoke an evil anger in their audience using revenge as a motive in their message. Brethren and as God fearing Christians, the Lord expects us to judge our motives in the light of His Word, giving love and forgiveness to an offender and pointing them to correction (2 Timothy 3:16). The Lord Jesus, taught and clarified that we should extend love and forgiveness even to our enemies (Matthew 5:38-48). While the death of His saints (the righteous) is precious in the sight of the Lord as they are reunited with Him in everlasting life (Psalm 116:15), He also takes no pleasure (or delights) even in the death of the wicked; His desire is for them to repent and turn away from their wicked ways so that they may live (Ezekiel 18:23; 33:11). God loves all His children so much (John 3:16);  He “causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45).

Allow God to Revenge and Fight for You

A few years ago a very faithful member of our ministry was viciously assaulted and abused by evil men. This precious sister was left paralyzed with physical and emotional scars, and was permanently crippled. This incident would provoke any person to hatred and unforgiveness, but this sister opted to obey the Lord and forgive her offenders without reservations. She recalled that the night she was attacked and hospitalized, the Lord appeared to her on her bedside and commanded her to forgive the men who had abused and assaulted her. As you may imagine, the wounds, pain, and experience were still fresh in her mind, yet God asked her to forgive. Forgiving immediately is not something many of us can do. I personally know many people who need weeks, months and even years to work through forgiveness. Their mind is on revenge through hateful feelings. Beloved, like we shared in our “Being Humble” article, if the Lord would have come or you die while still struggling to forgive, you might be denied entry into Heaven! The Lord Jesus clearly warns us that if we do not forgive others their sins, our Father will not forgive our sins either (Matthew 6:15; Luke 11:26). Therefore, it is in your best interest to “bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13).

Similarly, about three years ago the Lord sent three of our daughters, aged between 10 and 12 years at the time, to witness and share the gospel. As they were obediently sharing and handing out tracts, they were assaulted by a man. The Lord appeared to Charis later after this incident, saying that they must forgive that man who had attacked them. Also, I had to forgive and share my house with a young man who almost cost me four fingers on my right hand. Admittedly, this was a very uncomfortable situation, but the Lord taught me how to love our offenders if we are willing to obey Him. Like I alluded elsewhere, I overcame strong feelings of hatred and revenge through prayer, obedience and fear of God. The revenge I harboured was turned into compassion.

Please don’t be deceived by Satan! The devil is good at creating a spirit of self-pity and making us think that others are taking advantage of us if we choose to love and forgive. We might be looked at as fools, but we are preciously living out the values the Lord stood for.

In conclusion, let us leave room for God’s wrath (Romans 12:19) and allow him to sanctify us in His truth and will. Remember not to allow revenge to steal your salvation! This is not worthwhile since your years of faithful service in the Lord are about to be rewarded soon!

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favouritism (Colossians 3:23-25).

Finally, I encourage you with these words from the Lord to me recently: I am READY to come – SOON!

Have you been harbouring grudges against anyone, and seeking to revenge or pay back in your own terms? Have you been trapped in anger and unforgiveness against someone who wronged you? If so, please repent. If you have not yet accepted Jesus’ forgiveness and Lordship over you life, please pray this Prayer of Sincere Repentance to get started. For any questions or comments on this article or our ministry, please contact us.

Blessed grace and love,
Brother Glenn.