Paul takes a moment in his letter to the church of Rome, a chance to regain their full attention. “Dear friends,” he calls them.
“Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God.” Romans 12:19 NLT
The desire for revenge is common to mankind; our sense of justice demands that a wrong done to me be paid for by some type of punishment to the one who wronged me. But when men take upon themselves the mandate to distribute this justice, the result is never-ending strife– in other words, the history of the world to date.
God alone has the prerogative to distribute vengeance, and with Him, we can be sure that no evil deed will go unpunished. Nowhere was this Justice of God displayed more spectacularly to an evil world than at the cross of Calvary. Every sin against the majesty and holiness of God was avenged by the death of Jesus Christ on the cross.
And yet, men continue to wrong each other. Christians are wronged by others; and while we leave the vengeance to God, how are we to treat our enemies?
“If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads. Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.” Romans12:20,21 NLT.
Justice no longer demands that we do to our enemies as they have done to us. Jesus has born the vengeance for the sins of our enemies, even as He bore the vengeance for ours. Instead, we are called to treat our enemies with kindness, just as Jesus has treated us with kindness. Even the wrongs done to us by others become opportunities for us to grow more like Jesus.