“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.” – Romans 12:19
When we have been hurt, we want to hit back. We want the other person to suffer, too. But God says we have to give up the desire for revenge. Why? Because when we desire to take revenge, we are yanking our lives out of God’s hands and saying, “Thanks anyway, God, but I’ll handle this myself.”
Instead, Paul writes, “leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.” Now, what does this verse NOT mean? It does not mean that we say, “Okay, God, he hurt me! Zap him with your lightning bolt! Nail him! Go get him, God!”
What does Romans 12:19 mean for us? It means that we have to trust God. We have to give up our right to get even. No revenge. No nursed grudges. No paybacks.
We have to trust God to deal with the other person. We have to trust God’s justice and God’s timing in how he addresses sin. But – and this is key – there are three ways he addresses sin:
First, God may deal with the person’s sin in this life. The person’s sin may have very real consequences here and now. The person who made the pass at you may get fired for sexual harassment. The drunk driver may have his license revoked. Justice is very often meted out swiftly.
Second, God may deal with the person’s sin in the next life. If the person doesn’t accept Christ as their Savior, they will receive just punishment for their sins in hell. Sometimes that happens without justice in this life taking place; for instance, a murderer may get away with his crime in this life, but God will mete out justice upon the murderer’s own death if he is unredeemed.
Third, God may deal with the person’s sin with his Son’s life. This is very important to realize: Jesus gave his life for all our sins on the cross … including the hurt that the other person did to you. If that person accepts God’s forgiveness, justice is satisfied – because Jesus paid the penalty.
--- Are you struggling to forgive someone for hurting you? If so, ask God to help you along the path of forgiveness.
--- Are you struggling with a desire for revenge? If so, ask God to help you trust him with the other person.
--- If someone has hurt you, pray for them, and ask that they would turn to God to ask for forgiveness in Jesus’ name and by his blood.