There is an expectation as a Christian to ‘do the right thing’ even when others around us are not. We can make the same decision over and over again to ‘be bigger,’ yet still we can find ourselves in the same place: How do I walk this out? Life is unfair at times.
We know the right thing to do, but then life happens.
We seek God and feel inspired to be strong “I’m not going to stoop to their level,” hold it together a little longer until life happens again. Maybe the next time it is worse, the situation gets nastier so we find ourselves again going to God:
“How about now- what do you want me to do?”
“So, you still want me to be kind?!”
Maybe He will change His mind after ‘that’ happened, or give us permission to go to a higher level and ‘sort the mess out once and for all’. In my experience God doesn’t usually change His mind- I do. I get tired waiting for a circumstance to change.
Life can feel unfair even when we know and trust that God is just.
“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 NKJV)
Is God really saying that He punish others on our behalf? It seems a little Old Testament if you ask me. I’m not sure it seems right that we believe that God will ‘get them back’ on our behalf? What do you think?
Let’s open it up and examine the verse.
Check the Lex
Avenge: Greek 1556 ἐκδικέω ‘ek-dik-eh’-o from 1558 (to carry justice out); to vindicate, retaliate, punish,defend, vindicate.
My paraphrase based on the Lexicon would be ‘don’t take matters into your own hands.’ Don’t retaliate, defend yourself or seek justice.
Are we being asked to sit back and passively take it when people do us wrong?
While that seems very Bible (you know, turn the other cheek, walk the extra mile) it also seems quite passive. However, it was at this point that the verse actually begins to make sense to me.
It’s not passive. In fact it is the opposite. When I am walking out one of these times that feel unjust there is nothing passive about it at all. My nature is to talk about how unfair a situation is, how wrong the other person is, anger and frustration surges and I find myself rehearsing the situation, the conversation over and over again.
It happened a last year when we received a centrelink bill. Apparently they had overpaid us three years prior and after realising their mistake they awarded us a bill. For thousands of dollars.
It was wrong. We had done all we could to do the right thing and we were totally blindsided. Every time I got on the phone, rehearsed early conversations, emailed etc etc I became helplessly infuriated. I fought for as long as I could before realising that it was taking it’s toll on me emotionally. It was clear that there was nothing I could do.
We experience conflict with organisations, at work, with family members, unfair dealing with institutions (that time the course structure kept changing at College and I studied for years only to receive a cert 4), accusation the list goes on. I am not sure what your current frustration is, where you feel stuck but, I do now that it takes faith to not retaliate.
When we actively choose not to retaliate we are naturally drawn closer to Jesus. We pray, we trust, we seek, we draw from His character cause we can’t face it in our own strength.
In my Centrelink situation by the grace of God I got to the point where I could thank God for the extra money years earlier when we needed it and continued to thank Him that we could pay it back interest free over the next few years. If it hadn’t been brought to our attention then it would have been stealing (it was money that didn’t belong to us). We were now free.
Even reading my own words my conclusion sounds crazy. Maybe it is however, after coming to that place I had peace. I trusted that God would honour our actions, see our heart and trusted in His love and favour for our future.
To the measure we hold back and resist the urge to get involved we actually allow God to go in and fight on our behalf.
I personally don’t think God targets individuals or companies who have hurt us, it is more about the principalities and darkness at work. When we step back, we are trusting Him to bring His light and turn every situation around for good.
Its a good reminder to walk by faith and not by sight. To trust in all seasons.
What person or situation can you let go of and trust Him with today?
Do you have other thoughts as to how God’s vengeance is outworked?
Would love to hear from you,
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