Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.– Romans 12:19
Yesterday we saw how we are to give place unto OUR wrath. It is OK to be angry, but there were several conditions. Today, we will look at how we are to give place to the wrath of OTHERS.
The Wrath of Others
Instead of avenging ourselves, we are to give place to the wrath of others. This goes completely against how most of us have been brought up to believe. This goes against how I was brought up to believe. But Scripture is very clear on this subject. I used to make excuses for Scripture on this subject, trying my best to make Scripture align with my beliefs. The truth is that if someone does us wrong, we are not to take offense. The true reality for a Born-Again Believer is that this current life we are living on earth is temporary. We can either live life now in the temporary, submitting to our carnal desires or live a spiritual life, realizing that there is a bigger picture. If someone does us wrong, what is it to us in the long run? A Born-Again Believer living in the here and now is offended. “Why would he do such a thing to me?!” A Born-Again Believer living a spiritual life, mindful of eternity, realizes that in the grand scheme of things, any wrongdoing toward us is nothing. If you really want a reality check to see how many churchgoers are carnally-minded, go to any restaurant on a Sunday for lunch. Ask the waiter, and he’ll say the rudest, meanest, bossiest people are church people. Why?! We should know more about the love of God than anyone else! It is because most church people are carnal and have been taught that we are supposed to get our way. The Bible teaches directly opposite! Listen to what our Lord says about this in His Sermon on the Mount –
38 “Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: 39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. 41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. 42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.” – Matthew 5:38-42
Please don’t pass over those verses. If you just passed over them, read them. They are much more important than what I have to say. In our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount, the theme of the message is to Live a Spiritual Life. He paints a picture of the reality of a spiritual life as opposed to a carnal life. The Law said, “an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.” But Grace says “Thy sins be forgiven thee.” I used to excuse these verses in Christ’s sermon. I used to say that these verses just refer to verbal insults. I did this because I like having my way. I don’t like it when people do me wrong, and I want vengeance NOW. We’ve all heard the phrase, “turn the other cheek.” The phrase comes from these verses. But look at what comes next. “And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also.” Wow! How can one misinterpret this?! This verse is easier to accept when we take on the spiritual mindset that the TRUE reality is that this current life on earth is passing. It really is just a little race to run. After the race comes an eternal rest. If someone uses the law to take away your coat, what are you to do? Let him have your cloak as well. What is the point of this? The reality is that the coat and cloak are material, passing things. Our treasures are to be heavenly. Some of you reading this may still be trying to make excuses and are coming up with counterexamples. This is a spiritual truth and it takes putting on the mind of Christ to grasp. I’ve heard many many churchgoers talk about desiring to see souls saved only to talk about about the battles they’ve gotten in to with lost people. I’ve been guilty of this. But a little love goes a long way. Next time you are wronged, show the love of Christ in your actions. Do you really want to see souls saved? Do you really want your brethren in the church grow? Give place to their wrath. Don’t you dare say you desire to see souls saved if you are more concerned about how you’ve been wronged than their lost condition. Don’t you dare say you desire to see fellow Born-Again Believers spiritually grow if you are more willing to show them vengeance than the love of God. Live forgivingly.