Summary: May we get angry? Are we allowed to take revenge when wronged?
Sermon by Pr Paddick Van Zyl (MTh)
14 Nov 2014
Ray Stedman recalls seeing the following where he grew up. 'When I was in school in Montana, I used to watch the cows in the corral. They would be standing there peacefully, and then one cow would kick another cow. Of course, that cow had to kick back. Then the first cow kicked harder and missed the second cow and hit a third. That cow kicked back. I watched that happen many times. One single cow, starting to kick another, soon had the whole corral kicking and milling and mooing at one another, mad as could be. This happens in congregations too.'#
Romans 12:14-21 NKJV
How do we as christians deal with anger in life?
Do we take revenge on thise who hurt and slander us or not?
From our text is is quite clear that we are not to take revenge ourselves. That is God's department (v19). What we should do is very clearly shown in verses 14, 17, 20. Now verse 20 of Romans 12 is very difficult only if you are not in a right relationship with the Lord and you are not filled with the Word.
Verse 20 is pharapharsed from Proverbs 25:21-22
Romans 12:20 The Message (MSG)
20-21 Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he’s thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness.
Proverbs 25:21-22Living Bible (TLB)
21-22 If your enemy is hungry, give him food! If he is thirsty, give him something to drink! This will make him feel ashamed of himself, and God will reward you.
The New King James reads:
22 For so you will heap coals of fire on his head,
And the Lord will reward you.
We should not take revenge or vengeance ourselves when angry or confronted with an injustice agains us or another person but should give it over to God for Him to deal with the guilty and the perpetrators and so give place to wrath. Often we forget that God sees everything, knows everything and He will execute judgement wheter it be here and now (htrough the channels of the law and civil governemtn) or at His throne in Heaven. Karma is not the judge. God is. Payback is simply a boomerang on our own selves~ it comes back just like a boomerang does, suddenly!
I can almost hear you say, "What do you expect me to do? What if somebody hits me -- do I sit there and do nothing? Oh, no. There is something you can do look again at Prov 25:22
The concept or symbolism of 'heapoing coals of fire on the head' of the one desearving payback for his deeds, speaks of the shame and humiliation experienced by this person when he gets given what he dod not expect or deserve - kindness and love.
'This (verse 22 of Prov.25) refers to the ancient way of lighting fires. They didn't have matches in those days, so if you wanted to light a fire in your home, you couldn't go and borrow a match. But you could go and borrow some coals from your neighbor. Of course, you took along an earthen jar that would not burn. Then you would ask your neighbor if you could borrow some coals to light your own fire. Now, if he was a good neighbor, he would fill the jar and you would carry the padded jar home on top of your head. This became a picture of an ample, generous response to a neighbor's need. Because of that, it became a metaphor for responding so generously to your neighbor that it made him ashamed of himself for his attitude toward you. That is what Paul is suggesting here.'#
If you ever had a burning ember or coal against your flesh, you can identify the effect this has. It causes you to pay attention!
Ray Stedman tells the following story to explain 'silent revenge':
'I remember hearing of some officers during the Korean War who rented a house for themselves and hired a Korean houseboy to work for them. He was a cheerful, happy soul, and they were young and had a lot of fun playing tricks on him. They would nail his shoes to the floor, and they would put water up over the door so that when he pushed it open the bucket would fall on him. They played all kinds of tricks, but he always took them in such a beautiful, good humor that they finally became ashamed for themselves. They called him in one day and said, "We've been doing all these mean things to you and you have taken it so beautifully. We just want to apologize to you and tell you that we are never going to do those things again." He said, "You mean no more nail shoes to floor?" They said, "No more." He said, "You mean no more water on door?" They said, "No more." "Okay then," he said, "no more spit in soup!"