Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord."
So, Paul follows up his thoughts on living peaceably with the admonishment to not avenge ourselves. Vengeance never is a good thing and never settles anything. If you don't believe that, just look at the world we live in. Retaliation by those that have been wronged, just causes retaliation by those that wronged them in the first place. Think of the Hatfield's and McCoy's a feud that went on for years because both sides felt the need to avenge themselves. Many died before the feud ended. Think of how many lives would have been saved if both sides of the feud had left vengeance to God. Spiritually speaking; think of how many lives will be saved if we can learn not to avenge ourselves.
Paul says that we should leave vengeance to the Lord, let Him repay those that have wronged us. Paul is quoting Deuteronomy 32:35 when he write this verse. I think he does this to show us that this has always been the way God has wanted His people to handle being wronged. Jesus backs this up in His teachings. “But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” Matthew 5:39 ESV Jesus not only taught this, He lived it out. And Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." And they cast lots to divide his garments.Luke 23:34 ESV As Jesus was being crucified He asked for those that had wronged Him to be forgiven. He didn't seek vengeance.
When we think about it, whatever we do in retaliation for wrongs suffered does not have the lasting effect that God's vengeance does. Our retaliations only prompt more retaliation. When God deals with someone it is just, and enduring. It is final. God sees the big picture, we only see what is going on in the moment. What that means is; we react in the moment, but God acts eternally. We must always remember He holds the future in His hands, He will make everything right in His time.
Today, let's leave vengeance to the Lord and learn to forgive those that have wronged us.
© 2012 Leo J. Woodman