Summary: We want revenge, but God teaches a better way.
Genesis 45 Forgive because God gets revenge, not you Thursday Intercom
Have you ever wanted to really get back at someone? I am so sick and tired of that person, making my life miserable. I am going to make that person pay. Have you ever wanted to do that? What's that called? Revenge. That person hurt me. That person talked about me behind my back. What can I do to get back at him? You hurt me, now I'm going to hurt you. Sometimes our way of getting back at someone is to just give them the silent treatment. I’m not going to talk to you - I'm going to make it nice and awkward - that's how I can get back at you. I hope you're miserable, for what you did to me.
That's revenge. Do you know what the opposite of revenge is? The opposite of revenge is forgive. This week we are looking at forgiveness. We saw how Joseph forgave his brothers in Egypt. Joseph could have said, "You jerks sold me into slavery. Now I'm going to sell you into slavery. Or maybe I'll let you starve to death, rather than give you food to survive the famine." He could have done that, but he didn't. He forgave them.
In the book of Romans, it says, "Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord." It is not your job to carry out justice, when someone does something to you. That's God's job. Sometimes God carries out his justice immediately, on this earth, in a way you can see. I have seen it happen more than once here at Lakeside, where a student did something bad, and told a bunch of lies and nobody could prove anything, and it looked like that student was going to get away with it. But then something happened to that person, and you couldn't help but think to yourself, "Wow - that was totally God, stepping into the situation, carrying out his justice way better than any person or school could do."
Sometimes God carries out his justice in a way that you can't see. In the end, this is God's job, and not yours. When someone does something to you, God promises to take care of you, and he promises to do what is best for the person who wronged you. God's justice is always done in the most perfect way by God.
God carried out his ultimate justice on the cross. Remember when that person made fun of you behind your back? That sin was already paid for by Jesus on the cross. Remember when that person purposely hurt you? That sin was already paid for by Jesus on the cross. And remember all the things you have done to other people - because of your selfishness or anger? Those sins of yours were already paid for by Jesus on the cross. Perfect justice has already been served in all of its severity by your Savior Jesus.
So the next time you want to get revenge, don't. Instead, forgive. Forgive because God has forgiven you. Forgive because Jesus died for the sins people have done against you - they've been paid for on the cross. Forgive, because God will decide what kind of earthly justice is necessary. "Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult," the Bible says, "but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing… 12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil." We pray…
Dear Lord, please forgive me for the times I have taken revenge on someone. Help me to not hold a grudge against anyone. Help me to forgive, because you have forgiven me. Amen.