“Never hate your enemies,” said Michael Corleone in The Godfather, Part III, “It affects your judgment.”
Our job is to forgive; God’s job is to avenge. When someone hits us we want to hit back, don’t we? And if someone hurts us we want to hurt them. We want to settle the score. We want payback.
If you’re a Christian, however, that is not the way you should live. God says, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay” (Romans 12:19 NKJV).
The apostle Paul knew what it was like to be mistreated. I think no other leader in the first century suffered more than he did.
Yet it was Paul who wrote, “Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men” (Romans 12:17 NKJV).
And he modeled this as well. When he was arrested with Silas for preaching the gospel, the jailer was especially cruel. He beat them and tore open their backs with a whip. Then he fastened their feet in stocks and put them in the deep recesses of a filthy, horrible dungeon.
Then we read, “At midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed” (Acts 16:25–26 NKJV).
The jailer, realizing he would be executed for escaped prisoners, was about to kill himself. But Paul called out to him, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here” (verse 28 NKJV).
He extended grace to this man. And ultimately, he led the jailer and his family to Christ.
His example shows us that when we’re hurt or offended, we need to let God settle the score.
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