Romans 12:19 says, “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.” Getting our own revenge is something that is very easy to do. Our human emotions will naturally push us to take revenge. We want to get even with those who hurt us. We want to hurt those who hurt us. We want to insult them and avenge ourselves. Why? Because if we are honest, it feels good. It feels good to brake check the person that cut us off. It feels good to insult the person that spoke rudely to us. It feels good to take revenge.
The problem is if we want to build a relationship with the world and with the church, we must leave the avenging to God. We should expect the world to hurt us because it’s driven by sin. The Christian, however, shouldn’t be the same because they are led by God.
Revenge never ends well. It doesn’t cultivate relationships, it doesn’t build up our influence. It harms our influence, and it shows that we don’t truly trust that God will avenge us. As Christians, God is our avenger. We must be careful to not practice what God has rightfully claimed. By following this command, we open the door to a healthy relationship with those in the world, as well as our Christian family.
Romans 12:20 continues, “To the contrary (rather than take vengeance, CP), “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Rather than give in to the desire to take revenge, we are to treat our enemies like a friend. Feed him if he is hungry (don’t take joy in their hunger),
If our enemy is thirsty, give them a drink (don’t taunt them and laugh in their face when they suffer). By doing this, we are acting like God’s chosen.
Self-control is the basis for many Christian principles. Letting God take vengeance takes a lot of self-control, but ultimately it leads to healthier relationships and opportunities to evangelize to a world that doesn’t know any better. Take the road less traveled, and God will bless us in the end!