In Romans 12:17, why does the Bible say, “Never pay back evil with more evil?”
Most of us know people who are consistently rude, mean, and evil. Some people are dangerous. These people are in our own families, and others work alongside us within the church. How could God ask us to let injustice go uncorrected and unpunished? Dangerous people continue their assault against us. This seems unfair and inhumane. Thank goodness, the Bible addresses the issues of sin and injustice.
First, let’s consider that Jesus sacrificed His life for sinners and the very people who hated and, later killed Him. God’s real children are known because they are exactly like Jesus. God’s children have unconditional love because they have the heart of Christ (John 13:35). On the other hand, the children of Satan do his work as outlined in John 10:10, “Satan steals, kills and destroys.”
Finally, “Vengeance is mine says the Lord, I shall repay” (Romans 12:19, ESV).
Does God want us to be pushovers? No. Has God called us to allow people to abuse and kill us? No. Does God want us to be cowards and allow injustice to expand? No. In His Word (the Bible), God teaches us how to deal wisely in life. He trains us to avoid dangerous people and how to respond to every threat that we encounter. Each instance may require a different strategy. That is why God gave us His Word and His indwelling Holy Spirit to provide us with instant counsel.
The majority of the mayhem we experience in life could have been avoided altogether. For unavoidable catastrophes, God Himself can be depended upon to defend us and restore us according to His divine wisdom and timing. We see this in the book of Job.
Finally, God may not tell us the day and hour of another’s death. Nor do we understand all of the ramifications that led up to an untimely death. Our relationship with God is at the heart of our lives. Therefore, Jesus admonished us to live godly lives and, thus, always “be ready” to leave the earth and face God. Study the insightful parable of the Rich Fool (Luke 12: 16-21).
If we don’t know God through His Word and we haven’t received His Holy Spirit through the salvation experience, here are reasons why we may be prone to take revenge into our hands.
- In adversity, we won’t consider God’s Word because we may not know His Word.
- If we are unsaved, we don’t have the Spirit of God to help restrain us from evil or to guide us.
- Without the supernatural love of God operating in our lives, it is totally impossible to love others as Christ would.
The act of revenge is a human response. However, God’s love is full of mercy and forgiveness, which is a supernatural response. God’s love (operating in our hearts) can only be extended by those who know God.
“Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love (1 John 4:8, NIV).
If we study King David’s life, we see that he was ruthlessly and unjustly hated and attacked by King Saul (1 Samuel 16-31). However, David knew God intimately. David loved the Lord with all this heart. He knew God’s laws and commands. When David had the opportunity to avenge himself and to kill Saul, he did not do it! David kept saying to himself, to his followers, and even to Saul, “I will not take my own revenge; the LORD will avenge me.” David was not perfect, but in this instance, he chose to die (at the hand of Saul) rather than disobey God. This required supernatural faith, courage, and patience. David embodied these qualities because he was submitted to the Spirit of God. In time, God did avenge him. The Lord rewarded David with vast riches, power, honor, and an everlasting dynasty that included the bloodline to the Messiah.
Our knowing God as David did through Bible study and through our submission to God’s Holy Spirit is so important! This allows us to exercise Christ’s supernatural love, wisdom, and patience. Revenge will never be as sweet as the experience of knowing God intimately and living within His loving protection each day.