This is one of the most famous principles in all Christian teaching. This passage below encapsulates and reveals the whole point of forgiveness. Essentially, holding grudges and plotting revenge on those who have wronged us benefits nobody. All that happens is that evil is magnified and misery is inevitable. Over the last few months, I have had to take a number of “hits” in my life. In fact, only yesterday, I was hit again and it was hard not to think of making a strong legal retaliation. But the words in today’s passage have made a massive difference the whole situation. It doesn’t matter what the details are in my life or in yours, the truth of the matter is always the same – forgiveness is much more powerful than revenge.
Romans 12:14-21 NLT
Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honourable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord. Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.” Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.
I really believe it is possible to bless those who persecute you. Let them have what ever it is they want from you…nothing is too hard to give away. Pride is heavy and it weighs you down, I have had to let all mine go just to stay standing. My goal is to do more of the things written in today’s passage. I can see there is no point in revenge and so I won’t take it. But I wish I would get to the point where I never even thought about it!
Dear Lord and Father, help me not to be overwhelmed by those who would wish me ill. Instead, help me to overwhelm them with the power of your forgiveness. Help me to show my enemies a true, loving kindness in exchange for their malice and bitterness. Help them to feel your forgiveness even though they are not seeking it.
Father, a friend of mine once wept with me when I was heartbroken… Let me never forget his wonderful act of empathy and compassion as he shared my pain, and inspire me to do something like that for someone else should they ever need me to…. In Jesus’s name, Amen.
2 Chronicles 24:1-25:28, Romans 12:1-21, Psalms 22:19-31, Proverbs 20:8-10