Theme: AVENGE NOT YOURSELVES
“Avenge” according to the simple English dictionary, means to take vengeance or to revenge. At the time of the institution of the laws of God to the natural Jews through the prophet Moses, God Almighty instructed, “Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot”. “Breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth: as he hath caused a blemish in a man, so shall it be done to him again.” (Exodus 21:24; Leviticus 24:20). However, God Almighty in course of time sent His beloved son Jesus Christ into this world to extend the grace of God to men. (See Matthew 5:38-41). Indeed, “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” – John 1:17.
The theme “Avenge Not Yourselves” therefore, talks of the need for one and all not to resort to self-help by way of retaliating for wrong done to one but to always forgive when offended. Forgiveness as many misconstrue, does not show weakness but strength. It is one of the attributes of God, born out of love, for which reason, He is feared. The Psalmist King David stated, “If thou LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared”. – Psalm 130:3,4.
Text: “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.
Comment: Before his conversion, Apostle Paul, then Saul, was a blasphemer, a persecutor and injurious to the Church (1 Timothy 1:13). In order words, he could be said to be one that was given to violence. However, upon his call to sainthood and having received the anointing of the Holy spirit, straightway, understood he the importance of peace, longsuffering, patience and forgiveness in the service of God. Such that despite all he suffered (As he himself recorded in 2 Corinthians 11:22-28), did not breed hate in his heart, neither did he harbour grudge.
Is it not true that some today, at the slightest offence, mete sledge hammer treatment on offenders? Is it not true, that until vengeance is completed, some never forget the offences committed against them? It was Apostle Paul again, who enjoined us, “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you”. (Ephesians 4:32). Let us therefore, follow after the example of Apostle Paul, purge our hearts of hate and the quest for vengeance and commit our course to God and if our offenders do not repent and continue to trouble us, then we should be rest assured, that our God, will fight for us, just as He did for the Jews of old; as it is written, “Ye shall not fear them: for the LORD your God he shall fight for you”. – Deuteronomy 3:22; Exodus 14:14; Deuteronomy 1:30; Deuteronomy 20:4.