“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
Beware of vengeance, my friend. It belongs to the Lord, but that’s not all. It can be so subtle, so deceptive, we may not even be aware we’re harboring it in or hearts – or demonstrating it in our actions. Vengeance is sin against God, it needs to be repented of, and we need to be careful, to be ever so vigilant, in making sure we’re not holding it inside us nor exhibiting it in our lifestyles. Let me give you an example of how subtle it can be. Maybe you can relate. Maybe you need to examine your own heart.
One day the Spirit of God told me to call a friend. I didn’t want to call her. Now, mind you, she’s one of my dearest, most precious, beloved friends. If there are neighborhoods in heaven, I want her right next door to me! In all honesty, I had no idea until the Lord told me to call her what was going on in my heart.
What happened? I didn’t want to call her. But why? I hadn’t called her in a longer period of time than usual. Now the Lord was telling me to call her. So what was the big deal? We always LOVED talking to each other. We talked about the Lord, the Bible, ministry, our silly dogs, etc. Sometimes we were totally serious, but we also laughed often and abundantly. The big deal, in my heart as the Lord showed me, was 99% of the time it seemed I did all the calling. And the one time I didn’t call her for a while, she didn’t call me either! So petty, I know, but this is where vengeance can be so subtle.
See, I felt hurt. I was feeling a little sorry for myself. I was a little bitter. I was judging her for not calling me and being the good friend I thought she should be. I was being self-centered. And selfish. Thinking of me and what I wasn’t getting from her and the friendship instead of what the Lord wanted and how I could be a vessel of the Lord’s love and encouragement and help in her relationship with Him. And, as the Lord showed me, I had some vengeance in my heart! If she wasn’t going to call me, why should I call her?
I didn’t even see all this in my heart until the Spirit of God showed me – and led me to repent! I had unconsciously allowed all this sin in my heart to fester until it built up into vengeance. All sin! All about self! All wrong! All needing to be repented of. I needed to do more dying to self – and more choosing to live for Christ!
My friend hadn’t even in reality done anything wrong, and, if in fact she was being a little selfish on her own part in not calling me, it really wasn’t a big deal though I had made it into one. I believe we tend to think of vengeance as being a big deal about big stuff in big situations with big awful consequences, instead of realizing vengeance can be any size at all, that it’s ALL sin when it’s vengeance, and that it ALL needs to be confessed before God, repented of, forgiven, not acted upon, and when it is acted upon, brought before God and forgiven by Him in Jesus Christ’s name, and replaced with the way we are commanded to live, loving the Lord with all our hearts, and loving and forgiving and blessing others in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ!