Summary: If you've ever been wounded, hurt, done wrong, then it is important that you respond by doing right.
Title: How to Do Right When Done Wrong
Text: Rom. 12:14, 17, 19-20
(Preached before inmates at Wateree River Correctional Institution, SC. Designed to be a brief sermon)
Prison is a place where people carry around a lot of hurt.
Carry the hurt they’ve caused as well as carry the hurt done to them.
Just the other day someone had looked at something they had written down, “so and so cursed me out.” It reflected a deep wound.
I wonder if you have jotted down some hurts done to you before in a journal…or perhaps you write about them when you writing home. I wonder if you ever rehearse those wrongs done to you again and again.
“If” you’ve ever been wounded, the Bible has an answer for you…
Today I want to deliver to you the message “How to Do Right When Done Wrong.”
Text: Romans 12…(this is the section that describes the renewed mind)
1. Don't Take Revenge
v. 14… Bless those who persecute you, bless and curse not. …v. 17…Never pay back evil for evil to anyone.
First thing… Don’t take revenge.
Our first instinct is pay back….to seek revenge.
You may say, “But I’m not a vengeful person! No one has hurt me.” Wrong.
The Scripture says…you will be persecuted, you will have evil done to you.
Just by being about the Lord’s business today sets you up to be persecuted. Jesus has said that if you follow him, others will persecute you, your own family may hate you, and Satan’s job will be to theft, murder, and destruction to your life….
You must understand that you don’t have to do something wrong to be wronged. It is a not a matter of if, but when you will be wronged.
Now is the time to prepare how you will respond…and the first thing is don’t follow your first instinct to take revenge.
2. Let God Fight Your Battles
v. 19 goes on to give us our next point.
Not only should we not take revenge, but we should let God fight your battles.
v. 19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.
Paul is blunt about our ability to deal with injustices done to us. He says you can’t handle it. God has to be the one to fight. Don’t get in God’s way.
Letting God fight your battles is relinquishing the right to punish to God—
• which means justice may come slower than you like.
• He may show more grace than you would.
• But letting God fight means that you won’t try to do His job.
3. Repay Good for Bad
So what can I do? Paul tells you exactly what you can do….
Third thing…Repay Good for Bad.
That’s right!...look at 12:20 If your enemy is hungry feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head.
Like it or not…your offender is a person…he or she gets hungry and thirsty. They are human…they hurt too…just like you. And just like you they stand in need of forgiveness.
Instead of repaying vengeance for evil and persecution, this Bible tells you to do something nice and decent for that person.
Jesus also said in the Gospel of Matthew to love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you. Is that really what we need to do? Yes.
The Loophole…or Kill with Kindness.
What is this phrase to heap the burning coals upon his head? Some may have heard that this is like a sweet revenge where you try to be so nice that your offender feels bad about what they did. But that is not in keeping with what Jesus or Paul was saying…that’s just a backward way of revenge.
Instead it describes the ancient way that people would borrow coals from a neighbor whose fire went out. You see a person would keep the home fires burning at all times, but if it went out they could go to a neighbor who could give them enough burning coals to last them until they got home to re-light their fire.
As for putting it on their head, they carried many things in that manner.
It’s not about getting them or killing them with kindness…
Paul says God’s way is for you to
• deny your thirst for vengeance,
• let God fight your battles,
• and in the meantime, selflessly repay good for evil
Prison is a hard enough place without taking on the job of recording the wrongs of your life. God’s word says that isn’t your job.
When you are wronged…it hurts but God has a plan for you to deal with it through Jesus Christ.