Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. Romans 12:19 NIV
We recently had a tragic event with some friends losing their newly police officer son in the line of duty. As the details were unfolding, the perpetrator was still at large, armed and dangerous. Pam and I sat at the kitchen table and prayed.
Saddnes for the family was present. We were feeling a wide range of emotions as we prayed for protection for our own “son” ,Treshawn, who is on the police force with Tuscaloosa PD. Then we felt a surge of anger and vengeance as we wanted harm to come to the shooter.
At this point, I thought about the shooter’s eternal destiny. If they found him and shot him, his life would be over. Without Christ, he would spend eternity in hell, separated from the presence of God. That, of course, is the destiny for all who are without a relationship with Jesus, including Pam and I before we became followers of Jesus.
Our prayer changed. It went something like this. “Father, our friend was shot and killed. Part of me wants the shooter to receive a quick and swift punishment for his crime. Eye for eye and life for life. BUT if there is a possibility for him to receive Jesus while spending life in prison, then please spare his life. He deserves to be forgiven like me and everyone else who is a sinner.
The US Marshals found and apprehended the suspect. Now we continue to pray for his salvation as he awaits his trial.
Anger and vengeance are hard emotions to channel. Paul says that if we don’t respond quickly, we give God time to issue proper justice. It is not a matter of someone getting off the hook. Rather, God unfolds His plan differently than we think He should do it. Pharaoh was ruthless in his treatment of the Israelites. But in the end, they left Egypt with the abundance of Pharaoh’s treasures without having to fight or beg for it. Egypt has never fully recovered from that time onward.
When you feel the urge to rant and rave about how justice should be administered, take your conversation to the foot of the cross. Let the injustice of that moment speak to you. Let, the penalty and the payment for all of mankind’s sin be on full display. Know that Jesus is the ultimate and righteous judge.
Leave room for God. You will be glad you withheld some of your hurtful words and rash actions. God is a good and fair judge.
Blessings Love y’all