Avenging oneself



The Scripture says: “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath [but leave room for God’s wrath]: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:19-21) and again: “See that none render evil for evil unto any man” (1 Thessalonians 5:15).

Jesus Christ left us an example to follow, for He did not render evil for evil to His enemies, as it is written: “Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously” (1 Peter 2:23).

Therefore, brothers, when you are wronged by someone (whether he is an unbeliever or a believer) do not render evil for evil to him to avenge yourselves, lest you bear sin because of him. For if you return evil for evil, you commit a sin because you seek to take justice into your hands and because we are not allowed to do any harm not only to those who do good to us but also to those who wrong us. Of course, when we are wronged by someone we are greatly tempted to avenge ourselves somehow, but by watching and praying we can bear the temptation.

But why should we refrain from avenging ourselves? Because vengeance belongs to God. Therefore God alone can avenge Himself and avenge those who are wronged, and that’s what He does. Let no one deceive himself; our God is an avenging God and at His appointed time He makes people reap all the harm that they have done to other people, because - as Jeremiah said - “the LORD is the God of recompense, He will surely repay” (Jeremiah 51:56 – NKJV).

To God be the glory forever. Amen.