Summary: The desire for revenge and justice is part of being in God’s image. But, because sin corrupts us, and because our lives are intended to center around God, we must defer revenge (and sometimes justice) to Him.
Everything You Wanted to Know About Revenge But Never Thought You’d Hear in Church
1. Today’s sermon has little to do with the subject of forgiveness.
2. The Bible is clear that forgiveness is crucial to the Christian life; it is the hallmark of our faith.
3. Not long before she died in 1988, in a moment of surprising honesty on television, Marghanita
Laski, one of the best-known atheists and novelists, said, "What I envy most about you Christians
is your forgiveness; I have nobody to forgive me."
4. As I understand the Scriptures, we forgive others as God forgives us. God forgives us when we repent, and He always stands ready to do so. But His forgiveness is conditioned upon our repentance. Although His love is unconditional, His forgiveness is conditional. Otherwise everyone would be saved. Now it would not offend me if such were the case, but God’s Word is clear: salvation & forgiveness are conditioned upon repentance and faith.
5. But what do you do when someone wrongs you and brings all sorts of misery to you and those you love? What if they do not repent? What if they do not really care whether you forgive them or not? What if their consciences are seared?
6. You spouse has left you for another; you discovered your brother molested your children; someone has stole your identity and now everyone is trying to make you pay their bills; you have lost a parent to a car accident involving a drunk driver; you boss lied about your work production so that you were the one laid off while his loafing buddy is working steadily…
7. Sometimes, by the grace of God, we can let matters go. But this may take years, or we may never get there. We have feelings of revenge. We want justice to be done.
8. Is this a wrong desire? It can be, but it isn’t necessarily so.
Main idea: The desire for revenge and justice is part of being in God’s image. But, because sin corrupts us, and because our lives are intended to center around God, we must defer revenge (and sometimes justice) to Him.
I. Paying Back Evil for Evil Does Not FURTHER God’s Kingdom (14, 17)
1. The difference between persecution and defense: persecution means suffering for our faith (and is typically legal or encouraged by the anti-Christian authorities), defending ourselves is a God-given INSTINCT.
2. We should not do EVIL to counter the wrongs done to us
3. Does this mean we should never speak up?
At this the high priest Ananias ordered those standing near Paul to strike him on the mouth. Then Paul said to him, "God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! You sit there to judge me according to the law, yet you yourself violate the law by commanding that I be struck!"
The desire for revenge and justice is part of being in God’s image. But, because sin corrupts us, and because our lives are intended to center around God, we must defer revenge (and sometimes justice) to Him.
II. We Should Be Willing to Make A SERIOUS Effort to Be At Peace With Others (18)
1. The Bible places a high PREMIUM on peacemaking