By nature, we all want to settle the score . . . to get even . . . to give a little payback when someone wrongs us. How many movie “heroes” have we seen who set out on a quest for revenge? We watch, riveted by their pursuit of becoming the hands that deliver retribution.
But this is not for you! The truths of the Gospel free us from this cancerous condition.
Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. (Romans 12:19)
The apostle Paul makes it crystal clear that God’s judgment will reign in the end; we must not try to take these matters into our own hands. As the Almighty Accountant, God has promised to settle all accounts, which frees us from the spirit of unforgiveness and bitterness. It has been well said that unforgiveness does more damage to the vessel in which it is stored than the object upon which it is poured.
So . . . how are you doing in the area of forgiveness?
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32)
Because this is the final verse in the fourth chapter of Ephesians, it’s easy to skim right over these words if we’re not careful. God commands us to forgive others just as we have been forgiven. And for how much have we been forgiven? More than we could ever recount! God not only forgave us for all the sins we had committed before we were first saved, He forgives us daily for all the sins we commit from that day forward! I am convinced that those who find it hardest to forgive simply do not recognize just how much God in Christ forgives them every day . . . every hour, for that matter. We like to think of ourselves as being much better than we actually are!
The truth is that you and I are great sinners in need of an even greater Savior . . . not just daily, but moment by moment. Not for a single instant has any one of us ever loved God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength, as Jesus said we should (Mark 12:30). Only when we see ourselves as Paul saw himself—as “the chief sinner”—will we be able to lay down our vengeance and trust that the Almighty Accountant will settle all accounts in His time and in His perfect way.
Paul had many opportunities to succumb to bitterness and seek revenge against those who wronged him, slandered his good name, and actively sought to kill him. But nowhere in Scripture will we find him wasting any time on this toxic track. Much of what Paul wrote, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he wrote while he was in chains, sitting on a cold prison floor because he had been falsely accused and wrongly imprisoned. But instead of pursuing revenge against his critics, he preached the righteousness of Christ, trusting that the Almighty Accountant will one day put all things right.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!