Our natural tendency is to take revenge. We shovel coal on the fire of vengeance as we root for vigilantes and view avengers as heroes. God tells us that he is that hero. He is the one who will repay. We are to love our enemies and overcome evil with good…
18 “‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.”
17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Revenge is timeless. For as long as there have been people there have been people seeking revenge. Last night we were watching a cop show and my son and I were telling my wife all the bad things that should happen to the bad guy in the show. ‘Not sure that guy needs to make it back to the station, if you know what I mean…’ It’s vengeance. Born into us. Bred into us.
Our natural tendency in our sinful souls is to take revenge. And we shovel coal on the fire of vengeance as we walk through our lives. We root for the vigilante. We think of those who avenge wrongdoing are heroes. And God tells us that he is that hero. God is the one who will repay.
We are to do something which is harder to do than kicking butt and taking names. We are to do something that was modeled for us by the Lord Jesus. The greatest example I know of showing restraint and love for someone who has betrayed another is the example of Jesus and Judas.
Jesus washed Judas’ feet (John 13), knowing that he had already made the deal (Luke 22) with the religious leaders to hand Jesus over to them for his arrest. On TV, Jesus would have killed Judas or had someone else do it. The kingdom of God, however, is not TV.
Not only did Jesus need to be arrested in order to become our sacrifice, he also needed to show us what overcoming evil with good looks like in the flesh. We see the burning coals on the head of Judas as he eventually takes his own life because of his realization of his acts.
He saw what happened to Jesus. He couldn’t erase it from his mind. And he let Jesus wash his feet, which he also couldn’t erase from his mind.
What is that thing for which you desire revenge?
Will you give it over to the Lord?