Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:19-21 (NIV)
That is such a bad idea. What is such a bad idea? It is a bad idea to take revenge. Why is that? It is one thing to be hurt and mistreated by an enemy. That is bad enough. That is evil. That is obviously no fun at all. No, it’s not. What is worse is to let evil overcome me. How so? If I think of elaborate ways to seek revenge or actually take revenge that is simply allowing myself to be overcome by evil. Why is that? Allowing my heart and mind and life to be focused on repaying evil with evil is not your will. You do not want my life to be focused on something so unhelpful and unproductive. Why is that? If I have a revengeful heart and mind and life, I will never be a witness for you in the world. I will never be able to bear fruit for your kingdom or bring glory to your name. Getting caught up in revenge is just one more trick and trap of the devil to thwart the work that you want to do in me. Yes, it is.
I will tell you something that is far sweeter and more gratifying than taking revenge on an enemy. What’s that? Being kind to an enemy is far sweeter than taking any kind of revenge. How so? Nothing is more fun and joyful than to see a former enemy become a friend. By friend, I mean not only my friend, buy your friend. You want the kindness with which I treat enemies to draw them to you. I will never be a brighter witness for you than when I treat enemies with your love and kindness. That’s true. No one, except your followers, does that. The world expects every wrong to repaid with some form of revenge, whether it be small mistreatments or large unkind acts. So, loving my enemies with your love is one way I will be your witness in the world. It will be my regular pattern and practice to love my enemies with your love. I will pray and believe that one day they will become my and your friend. That will be very good.
Lord, I have been hurt and mistreated by enemies. I must confess that I have allowed myself to become overcome by evil by thinking of elaborate ways to seek revenge. Forgive me. Now, I will do good to every former enemy. Turn them into to my good friends. Amen
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