Why and how do we leave vengeance to God? What does God say about revenge? Wow! You have asked some great questions and we are so glad you are here. We all struggle with letting go of the hurt inflicted upon us by others. But getting back at someone will never bring us true joy. God knows that, so he has prepared a better way for us. His free gift provides the way to life and to joy. Let’s dive in and find the answer to your questions.
Why and How do We Leave Vengeance to God?
“Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord (Romans 12:17, 19).”
This may be one of the toughest challenges the Lord gives us. When we’re wronged, it’s so tempting to take revenge ourselves. Then, to make it even harder to wait on God’s justice, there are times when we legitimately must defend ourselves against evil people. And those times aren’t always easy to differentiate from those we should leave in God’s hands. This discernment takes wisdom.
But, when we do leave revenge in God’s hands, we must exercise patience because we tend to want immediate justice. Waiting is even more challenging when we see their deceit flourishing and them prospering because of their words and actions. Or when they succeed in damaging our reputation.
“BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD (Romans 12:20).”
Heap Burning Coals Meaning
Heaping burning coals on someone’s head may mean that God will eventually bring justice to our issue. Another possibility is that our thoughtful response may lead to someone’s conscience responding to our undeserved kindness.
Jesus experienced this unmerited evil:
“Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example….He who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being abusively insulted, He did not insult in return; while suffering, He did not threaten, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously (1 Peter 2:21-23).”
They crucified Him (Jesus) and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left. But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing (Luke 23:33-34).”
What Does God Say about Revenge?
Obedience to these commands does not come naturally. We can only accomplish this through faith that God is righteous, and we can trust Him. We also must tap into the Holy Spirit’s power; we can’t do it on our own:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires (Galatians 5:22-24).”
Our High Priest, Jesus, is always available. And all are invited to go before His throne:
For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:15-16).
Be at Peace with All Men
We have these divine resources, but we also have a personal responsibility to obey God’s command:
“If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men (Romans 12:18).” Then you will receive your praise from God (1 Corinthians 4:5).
When obedient, God will praise our trust in this matter:
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God (Matthew 5:9).”