Romans 12:16-19 KJV
Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
This passage has been running through my mind for the past two weeks. It is true that sometimes the people we trust most betray us. It might not be some one we trust but it could be some one who is or professes to working toward our same cause. This might be purposeful or accidental. The point is that some of our troubles are best left for God to deal with. While we may have hurt from the initial action of the offender, we actually bring more pain and suffering to ourselves by seeking repentance and restitution from that offending party.
I think Paul is telling the Christians that, often in being right, we must be careful because we can easily make enemies of the very people we need for the bigger fights or we can corrupt our own name and progress in seeking revenge. I have the perfect illustration for this. It relates to my recent political experiences. I associate with a Conservative party because their platform supports most of my personal convictions and values. It is true that there have been and will continue to be candidates that I do not prefer. In fact, over this last election cycle, I got caught in some pretty upsetting exchanges between some candidate’s supporters against a few of us who were striving for a fair and transparent process.
However, it happened that the opponent of my preference won the nomination. Though, I am not a fan of this candidate, my word is to support the nominated candidate. So, with much prayer, I toed the line enough, though if allowed my personal opinion I would share with my reason. The candidate went on to win the race. Now, I could spend my energy pointing out the faults of this Congress person, with every opportunity, or I can leave my disparagement with God and do my best to encourage voting that supports our platform. This is where Paul exhorts us, “as much as possible, live peaceably!”
See, I am not in agreement with the underhanded things that went on during the campaigning but God knows all that was done on both sides. There are a lot of people who would view my continuing rant as divisive and counterproductive to our overall goal. Who am I to question God’s purpose or fairness? I must adjust my attitude for the big picture and leave my complaints with Him. It might seem unfair but God has promised, Jeremiah 29:11 KJV)”For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” I must trust that He is at the Helm. I must work forward in obedience.
Paul is not telling us to sit by and let injustice prevail but we need to prioritize our battles. Our country is really hurting and our plight is very similar to that of the Old Testament, Israel. Our National rejection of God, our National idolatry is causing chaos for us and the world. As a person, surrendered to Jesus, it is my job to (Matthew 5:44-45 KJV)”But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”
I will purpose in my heart to do what Jesus commands and let Him comfort me. I know that only He can heal me, only He can turn these offenses into good. Romans 8:28 KJV)”And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.