Avenge not yourselves

          Watching “The People’s Court” is interesting because we often find ourselves agreeing or disagreeing with the “judge,” don’t we?

            Most of us think we have a pretty good sense of what fair play is, and we believe we have a good idea what is just and right. Well, that may or may not be true. This is something God knows about us. Sometimes, we don’t have a very good idea of justice.

            Think about it. If we get our idea of justice from how we feel about something or someone, then it is possible for our opinion to be skewed. It is possible to make an error about who’s right or wrong.

            Sometimes we’re tempted to seek justice for ourselves, so we act in vengeance. “Don’t get mad, get even” is one of the mottoes of our time, isn’t it? When we act this way we forget that often we don’t know what is just and right. Only God does.

            In Romans 12:19, the Apostle Paul wrote, “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.’” Why not look for the quick path to justice and satisfy our desire for revenge?

            Because God alone knows what is right and wrong, not us. Remember, one time we were the ones who rebelled against God and went our own way (Romans 3:10-18). We thought we were right to rebel, didn’t we? It is not within our purview to put ourselves in God’s place and make decisions on whatever basis we think because whatever we think may not be right.

            So, the apostle calls on us not to take matters into our own hands, but to “give place unto wrath.” What does that mean? Comparative reading in another translation of the Bible helps here. The New American Standard Bible renders the verse, “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.”

            God will take care of the inequities we experience in this life. We just need to give him time to act. He cares for us and will make everything right because he knows how. The word “vengeance” means “to make right.” God knows best how to do this. Let us allow him to help.