15) See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.1 Thessalonians 5:15 (KJV)
We are directly commanded by God to withhold revenge on others, especially those who wrong us.
This is just as radical a command today as it was during His earthly ministry because it runs counter to our natural sinful tendencies.
Nevertheless, Paul makes Jesus’ teaching clear. None are to return evil with evil. It does not matter who you are. Revenge is not an option for the Christian.
This does not mean we are to never respond in anger. You can be angry out of love. Nor does it mean there is never to be any justice. However, this is not what is being taught here.
Rather, revenge means that we intentionally and deliberately hurt someone because of what they have done to us.
This is out of the question. Even if you are doing so to make yourself feel better, and even if you feel justified through your revenge, it is still wrong.“We must work towards doing good to those who wrong us and we must continually run from revenge.”Instead, we are to ever follow that which is good. The word follow here can mean to pursue, to chase down (as in a goal) and to strive. So then, what we really must do is strive to repay evil with good.
To chase down and strive after means that we have to work at it. We must work towards doing good to those who wrong us and we must continually run from revenge.
While this seems like a daunting task, God has not left us alone to accomplish it in our own power.
Giving up on revenge is impossible without God’s intervention. In fact, if you are not a born again believer in Jesus Christ, you will never be able to draw from the source of strength whereby we can overcome our vengeful tendencies.
The lost may say to us “How can anyone put off revenge?” To which we must respond “It is not by my power, but by the power of Christ which lives in me.” (Gal. 2:20 KJV)
The Holy Spirit will help us. What is more we have a head start in the matter because know something truly special that the unsaved man does not.
We know what He has done for us! God’s recipe for overcoming vengeance is found in the salvation of His saints.“Has Jesus’ forgiveness of your sins melted the scales from your heart and allowed it to be forgiving of others?”When He saves us He shows us the ultimate display of grace, forgiveness and mercy. Taken together, these three represent the perfect blueprint for overcoming revenge.
Has Jesus’ forgiveness of your sins melted the scales from your heart and allowed it to be forgiving of others?
Has His grace for you grafted your heart with so much gratitude that you want to pass that same grace onto your fellow man?
Christian, has God’s love for you quenched your appetite for revenge and set in its place a desire to relentlessly pursue benevolence to those who wrong you?
The next time someone hurts you, remember what God has done for you. Learn from Him.
By His teaching you how to overcome revenge He has taught you something truly powerful. Praise be to God for only He can do that!
By His good working in you may you help Him transform the lives others by responding to evil with good. Soli Deo gloria.