The next verse in our series is written by another cyber friend, Julie Arduini, which is entitled Avenge Not Yourselves. Check out Julie’s like at the end of the post and hop over to her site.
“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 KJV)
The world doesn’t know what to do with this verse because it goes against everything we’ve been taught as a society. Even children dealing with injustice shout to the offender, “I’ll get you back!”
God’s way is different. God is love. God is peace. God also gets angry. God takes care of His kids. We just have to give Him a chance. Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary through Bible Gateway’s public domain explains Romans 12:19 this way:
“The last verse suggests what is not easily understood by the world; that in all strife and contention, those that revenge are conquered, and those that forgive are conquerors. Be not overcome of evil. Learn to defeat ill designs against you, either to change them, or to preserve your own peace.”
Our family had our share of experiences where we were betrayed, harmed, or otherwise handed a situation where people suggested, even Christians out of love for us, that we seek revenge. We nearly lost our daughter due to doctor error. Our insurance company gave us no mercy when it came to denial of needed therapies. “Friends” smiled to our faces and stabbed us in the back with gossip and innuendo. It’s human to want to take that wrath and seek revenge.
Thing is, doing so would be taking power that isn’t ours to have. One visual that comes to mind, that in no way gives God the justice He deserves, is comic book heroes and villains. The villains are always after the power to do what they want with it. It’s not their power to have and it never ends well. Usually taking power not meant for them brings more injustice, peril, and the cycle of wrath and revenge is there to keep going.
The betrayals, injuries, and the like hurt our family in ways I can never adequately explain. I had a mentor who explained the Biblical response as God laid out in Romans 12:19 in a way I understand. She shared that all God is asking me (or you) to do in those things is to go to the couch and rest. Let Him go out the door and fight the battle. It is His to fight.
When He returns after a day of fighting on your behalf, He wants to join us on the couch. He’d like us to allow Him to put His head on our shoulder or lap and just tell us about His day. It’s an intimate picture and seems like such a contrast to wrath and revenge. But that time He’s in battle, while we are at peace and rest, He’s using the power He is, was, and always will be. He’s taking no prisoners in an epic battle against darkness He’s already won.
Vengeance truly is His, and it’s a temptation we need to keep at His feet so we can allow God to be God and literally rest in His promises. Doing as the verse says makes us a true conqueror. As someone who watched miraculous outcomes from devastating circumstances where vengeance was a theme, Romans 12:19 isn’t just a verse. It’s a command.
Visit Julie at The Surrendered Scribe.