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Never Avenge Yourself!

Never Avenge Yourself!
25-Ways to Honor God-Number 24

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)

We are looking at a series of devotionals which are revealing 25-ways to bring glory and honor to God - these are actually duties or responsibilities for every Christian. We find these 25-ways in Romans 12:9-21.   

Today we will be looking at the 4th of our "Duties to Our Personal Enemies" as Christian men and women. These are our duties to those who we identify as people who are coming against us and persecuting us. And that 4th duty is also our 24th way in our series of 25-ways to honor God.

24.    Never Avenge Yourself (Rom 12:19)

William Shakespeare wrote of our human character ever so truthfully when he penned, "If you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die? And if you wrong us shall we not revenge?"

And I would personally add that, "It is sad that we instinctively repay evil for evil - that we cannot with truthfulness, identify the real enemy from those who attack us."

I say, "Real enemy" because Satan is behind every evil thing that is done.  There is a saying among Christians that says, "Hate the sin - not the sinner."  And even though there is no scripture that quotes this phrasing, we can clearly see that God did this with us, as outlined in Romans 5:8 - and we are to imitate God (See Eph 5:1)

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 (NKJV)

So God loved us enough to send His only Son to die for us - I'd say that's love.  We don't need to imitate God and die for other people's sins - we just need to die to our selfish desires to get even.  So we need to separate the "Sin" from the "Sinner," so we won't be tempted to repaying those who offend or attack us with the same evil that they used in the offense or attack.

Q:  So how can we separate the sin from the sinner when we are tempted to repay with vengeance?

A:  We need to "hate" evil and that means that we must resolve not to lower ourselves to justify using it.  We don't excuse the evil done to us - we just don't use it as a weapon to get even.

The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; Proverbs 8:13 (NKJV)

The enemy knows that he can successfully tempt many Christians to step away from their new Holy Spirit empowered nature to seek revenge because it appeals to our old fleshly tendencies.  But we must allow God to righteously judge those who offend us and to administer His proper punishment when He deems that it is needed.

Another thing that we can remember when we feel the need to exact justice and take matters into our own hands is the mercy that God has shown us.  We too, were once enemies of God, and yet He was patient and longsuffering with us - shouldn't we be imitators of His grace and mercy and therefore be longsuffering towards those who afflict us?  We need to remember, if we choose not to show mercy to others, we will be shown the same lack of mercy by our Lord - and no amount of "payback" is worth that.

For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. James 2:13 (NKJV)

Q:    So, we can't seek revenge with those who afflict us - so what are we to do then?

We will find the answer to this question in our next devotional, which covers our last duty as Christian men and women, in the series of 25-ways to honor God.

Hey Christian, I want to encourage you today to remember something that I often say, "Your not a victim!"  God is in control, and He has allowed anything that you are currently going through or have gone through.  We will cover that more in depth as well in an upcoming devotional series titled, "Two types of Storms."

STUDY QUESTION: What can we learn about seeking vengeance according to the scriptures contained within this devotional?

PERSONAL INVENTORY: Do you find that you are tempted to get even with those people who attack or afflict you?

APPLICATION: Let God handle those people that come against you.  Don't let the enemy con you into thinking that you have a right to exact revenge against another person.

Father, Thank You for Your mercy and grace upon my life.  Thank You for Your longsuffering during those periods where I have foolishly acted in sinful ways.  Help me to remember your mercy when I am tempted to be vindictive in a vengeful way.  In Jesus precious name, amen...

Be Blessed, Pastor Scott

Copyright ©2017 by Pastor Scott Wright.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000