If you open your Bible to this text it probably has a heading like “Marks of the True Christian” or something closely related and rightly so. In this text, one finds such things as genuine love, abhorrence of evil, holding fast to what is good, love for one another, showing honor to others, etc., etc. All things one would expect to see in the life of Christian and all things that growing Christians should be cultivating in their own lives, but for the purposes of this blog I would like to draw attention to some other aspects of the text, namely those verses that speak to how one should respond to those who sin against him.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. (Rom. 12:14 ESV)
17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.
18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
(Rom. 12:17-21 ESV)
In verse 14 Paul commands us to bless those who persecute us and do not curse them. How many of you think of this verse when a friend, loved one, or someone else is sinning against you? Is your fist thought how can I bless this individual or is it more along the lines of how can I get even or make them see how much they have wronged me? God would have us seek the other person’s good. He would have us bless them. Part of that blessing may need to come in the form of a loving, and I do mean, loving confrontation. We do have a responsibility to call sin, sin and to deal with it biblically (confession, repentance, forgiveness). What greater blessing is there than to be right with God?
God would also have us do what is honorable and live at peace with all as much as it depends on us. We cannot control what other people do. We do not know how others will respond to us, but we are called to obey God’s commands and here he has told us not to repay evil with evil. He has told us not to avenge ourselves but to leave vengeance to him. He has told us to tend to our enemy’s needs and to overcome evil with good.
We must keep in mind, that to ignore what is taught in this text is to doubt God’s justice. It is to declare that God’s justice is not sufficient so mine must be asserted. Friends, every sin committed will be paid for in one way or another. It will be paid for by the person in hell forever or by God in the person of Christ on the cross. To exact one’s own vengeance, is to say either that Christ’s death was not sufficient or that God’s wrath is not sufficient. Justice will be served in the end if not in this life. The question is do we trust God.
So, do you? Do you trust that what God has commanded in this text is good and right? Do you trust that what God has commanded in this text is the best for you?
By His Grace Alone,