Revenge often feels good, but only for a while. God has more in store for us than that. Can He really heal this heart of mine that has been hurt and broken by others? When we cling onto our past and refuse to forgive, we are like a car with a flat tyre. We are moving forward, but unless we change that tyre, we will be slowed down and burdened by it.
You may be asking, “That’s it? I’m just supposed to forgive them after all they have done to me? After accusing me and pouring out their anger on me? Shouldn’t they also get a pinch of what I felt so it is fair to me? And what have they done to deserve my forgiveness?”
Romans 12:17, 19 (NKJV)
17 Repay no one evil for evil…
19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.
Brothers and Sisters, if you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? (Matthew 5:46) Jesus’ way is so different from that of this world. What feels so right isn’t always so. If we only treat those who love us and not those who hate or hurt us, wouldn’t we be just like the rest of this world? God did not call us to be like those of this world, we are set apart and are the salt and light of this world. The Spirit of God distinguishes us from the rest of the world, therefore let us be like Christ who forgave us even when we were undeserving and were against Him. Do not seek to bring justice on your own; God says that He WILL repay them for their wrong. Entrust it to God; He knows what He is doing.
Luke 6:27-28 (NKJV)
27 “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
28 bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.
I can’t even begin to describe how hard this is to do, and this is precisely why we do not rely on our own strength but rather on Jesus. When we try to do it on our own, we realize we fall short of what we want to achieve because only Christ can give us the strength to overcome our fallen nature. Pray to Him, uplift your cares and burdens into His hands, He inclines His ear to those who call out to Him and He will plead the cause of the oppressed.
Romans 12:21 (NKJV)
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
When we display good to those who have treated us badly, we are portraying an image of Christ in us and being a testimony for God. We are ambassadors of Christ and we must give the right picture of what God’s character is. God wants us to be a channel for the love of Christ to flow through. Through you, God can touch the hearts of those who have hurt you because you choose to obey and trust in His goodness.
The story of Joseph recorded in the Old Testament tells us how he was betrayed and sold away by his brothers into slavery. A series of events passed and because God was on Joseph’s side, Joseph climbed to the top as the Prime Minister of Egypt. Many years passed now and when there was a famine in the land, his brothers came to Egypt to buy food from him. They could not recognize Joseph, but he recognized them. It was the perfect opportunity for Joseph to get back at them and give them the punishment due to them. It was probably hard for Joseph to make up his mind. He welcomed them, wept over them, ate with them, and even tested them. He probably was at war with himself. These brothers had peeled the scab off his oldest and deepest wound. He perhaps wanted them to pay the price. On the other hand, these were his brothers, and he did not want to lose them. And he chose to see all that had taken place as God’s divine plan with a purpose.
God’s plan for us is not revenge, but reconciliation. We may not always see it as the choice path, but believe this, God has it all under control. He teaches us that love is always the answer. He knows what’s best for us and we can be assured of that. Joseph eventually revealed his identity to his brothers and they wept together and reconciled. He settled them down in a land near Egypt where he could be close to them and they were greatly provided for.
Forgiveness is probably one of the hardest practices though it may seem simple to preach about it. I encourage you to seek God and be satisfied in His love for you. He is the only reason you need to forgive others. Also, seek the counsel of Godly people ask for advice you can deal with hurt or betrayal from others in a God-pleasing manner.
Let us pray.
“Dear Heavenly Father, I seek Your wisdom to deal with the hurt I am facing. Let Your love saturate my heart and block out any resentment in me. I do not want to repay evil with evil, but I want to be Your salt and light so that others may know Your love and character as the Heavenly Father. Teach me to forgive as You have forgiven me O Lord, calm my spirit from the pain that I am experiencing. I desire to glorify You in all that I do, therefore help me observe myself that I do not act out in anger, instead, let me always recall Your love for me in times of need. I humbly surrender and confess that I cannot do this on my own. God, give me strength that I may truly grow to be more and more like Jesus. Thank You, Father. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.”