Who will pay them back?
Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Romans 12:19
This passage is clear that we are not to repay anyone for an evil done. Our part is not to pay back, our part is to forgive and to love. God does the pay back and that is only after the one deserving to be repaid has had every opportunity to repent and ask for forgiveness.
God’s plan and desire is for His people to love and forgive other people to the point that they are open to hear the message of the gospel. So why is this so difficult to do? Why is it against our nature to let go of hurts and words that come against what we stand for in the Kingdom of heaven? It doesn’t have to be hard if you make a plan ahead of time and then practice it. Just like you practice growing your faith and increasing in love, you can practice forgiving others.
The secret to forgiveness is in verse 21 of this chapter. It says: Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good. Recognize that what has been done to you is evil but, you can overcome those evil feelings by doing good. Be prepared ahead of time because you know it is going to happen. No matter how hard you try to avoid the pain of others rejecting or hurtful words, we live in an imperfect world and offenses will always come. Jesus told us in Luke 17 that offenses will always come, so be prepared for them. Choose a scripture that you can turn to in the time when you want to fight back. At the point that a wrong is done to you, say something like: Matthew 6:14 “I forgive others when they sin against me and my heavenly Father also forgives me.” or Luke 6:37 “I Forgive and I am forgiven.”
Of course, there are many other scriptures you can turn to but selecting a scripture ahead of time to go to when you know it is right to forgive will lead you in the direction of making forgiveness a habit. Next, look for an opportunity to do something good to stomp out those evil feelings that come. Lastly, pray for the person that has come against you. Prayer will open the door to connect them to God. In lifting that person up in prayer, you are draining your hurt feelings out and filling back up with God’s love at the same time.
I’ve seen it happen so many times, never really considering why. When I was mistreated, reprimanded, humiliated or embarrassed by someone, I focused on forgiving and praying to rid myself of the hurt I felt. Not long after, I would hear of failure or misfortune coming to them. I didn’t will that, I didn’t even think it, my only concern was to keep my heart headed in the right direction and to pray God would reach that person. Whether it was God, or just a result of their prideful attitude, the fall came to them none the less.
Today I want to encourage you to let God handle the payment for a wrong done. Keep yourself and your heart clean from the bitterness and resentment that can result from offense. Forgive and pray and if you find you can’t do this, ask God for help. He will empower you. God will avenge you and you don’t even have to have anything to do with it.
Today’s scripture reading: Romans 12:18-21