What kind of Jesus do you want? (4)
Maybe today you want the District Attorney Jesus, who’ll get all those people who've made your life hard. He will be only your sovereign Savior King.
Who of us has not desired vengeance at some point in our lives? God has placed a desire for justice in each of our hearts. So when we face injustice, it is very tempting to want to take justice into our own hands. We see it in the little child, who, when hit, immediately hits back. We see it in the teenager who has been publically embarrassed by a friend; he not only cuts that friend out of his life, but looks for a way to heap embarrassment on him as well. We see it in a marriage, when one of the spouses curses the other with the silent treatment for a couple of days because he or she has been hurt. We really do find it easier to make war than to make peace, and we often wish that God would make war with others on our behalf.
Consider how Paul approaches this topic in Romans 12:14-21:
“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’ To the contrary, ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
The foundation of this passage is God’s promise that He will exercise his righteous justice and mete out vengeance. This doesn’t mean that Jesus is your district attorney. God does not promise that He will do it at such a place or in such a way that you will know it or see it. He does not promise that He will do it according to your schedule. He does not promise that He will abandon His mercy for His justice. But He does promise to repay. When Paul says, “Leave it to the wrath of God,” he is essentially saying, “Stop trying to do God’s job, and trust Him to do what He promised He will do.” You can trust Him because He is your sovereign Savior King.
Where does that leave us? With these simple and practical directives:
1. Never repay evil for evil.
2. Work to live in peace with everyone.
3. Overcome evil with good.
None of us has the strength of character to live this way. Even the evil that is done to us exposes the depth of our need for God’s grace. Thankfully, that grace is yours for the taking!