“If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” – Romans 12:18 (ESV)
Secularland says “Don’t get mad, get even.”
Jesus says, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.”
But I say, “Sometimes ya just gotta give folks a good swift kick in the pants.”
So, who is right? Well If you say I am, then thank you, but I may be a bit off the mark (maybe). If you say Secularland, please repent and join a monastery (quickly). But if you said Jesus…well let’s just see why that’s a better answer than a good swift kick, shall we?
There are some wrongs done to people that are traumatic and take time to overcome. We hear stories of emotional, physical, psychological and sexual abuse. Murders and other violent crimes are constantly on the news. Our country’s military and police force has seen their share of wrongs as they protect and serve. Betrayal committed by family and friends can leave us just as devastated as those things that I’ve listed, and yet in it all, Jesus would rather have us show His love (which should be within us) to them who have committed these wrongs than to enact vengeance on them or worse, to actually take revenge on them. It’s kinda vexing to think that somethings seem to go unpunished but, from a worldview point, it happens.
In 1 Thessalonians Paul says, “See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.” Groovy, right? But what’s in it for us? Well let’s see what Peter would say to that, “Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing” (1 Peter 3:9). Now these are ‘Jesus things’ to say, but what are we talking about with repaying evil for evil?
Well, John Calvin once pointed out that returning evil for evil may not be as severe as seeking revenge but it is still forbidden. Trading barbs with someone just to gain the upper hand, even done in fun, can be seen as returning evil with evil. Maybe your spouse has popped off on you and you respond by being cold and you stop speaking to them. You may not be plotting revenge, you may not be returning evil for evil, but you ain’t exactly blessing them either. So, what is it that makes these things turn around?
Check this out… “Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all” (Romans 12:17). Hmmm?? Do what is honorable in the sight of all? This is where the worldview of honorable and the Christian view differ. Secularland would wonder why the Christian wouldn’t be screaming these verses out in vengeance, “But if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe” Exodus 21:23-25 (ESV). After all, isn’t that the proper thing to do if you say you believe in God? But that is where the rug lies… if we say we believe in God and yet do not do what the Son came and taught us to do, then we are playing God and that makes us worse than the one who does harm. Get it? Secularland rejects the teaching of The Son because He brought to us grace and mercy (in my view) always belonged to The Father.
Simply put… “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him” (John 3:17). If God the Father was willing to do what was necessary to have peace with His creation, who are we to usurp that? So where is the honor in evil? It’s just not there. Only those who CHOOSE to dishonor what is true, just, pure, excellent and commendable scream for vengeance and twist truth for the sake of justifying evening the score.
A very ugly event took place this past week that has brought the whole of American society on edge. It is the kind of thing that would justify all kinds of acts of vengeance and revenge. But Christian, if you go there then you have chosen unwisely and more importantly…ungodly. What needs to be done is to “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Ephesians 6:13). Because once you gained your footing where you stand then you are more useful to “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone” (Mark 16:15).
Brothers (and sisters), do not lose sight of your Kingdom purpose. Let us all press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Then let us hold true to what we have attained. The adversary roams around seeking whom he can destroy…let it not be ANY one person in The Most High God’s creation!! Amen?
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris, a graduate of The Colony of Mercy (11-2003) is married (Kathy) with two adult children (Kevin and Karen) and has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008.
Daily Quote: “An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind.” — Mahatma Gandhi
This Week’s Verse to Memorize:
“Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” – Romans 8:26