C.H. Spurgeon once said to his congregation in London, “If, my dear friend, you make it a rule that nobody shall ever insult you without having to pay for it, nor treat you with disrespect without meeting his match, you need not pray God in the morning to help you carry out your resolve.” His point was simple: defending our reputations and getting even with those who cross us come naturally to us. Enduring suffering and leaving the enacting of judgment to God, on the other hand, does not.
Yet enacting judgment is a responsibility for which we are totally incompetent. When we hit back, we never know how hard to hit, and when somebody says something hurtful, we often respond with something much worse. Deep down, we tend to think we will ove rcome hatred by more of the same; instead, we magnify the wickedness. Clearly, evil should be punished, and evil will be punished. But it must not be punished by us.
Only God is perfect in His judgments and His justice. He will right every wrong. There is a higher throne than any this world has seen, and one day at that throne, all the corrupt jurisdictions, failures of judgment, and miscarriages of human justice will be righted.
This should not be a cloak for our own vindictiveness, though. We must not wish for anything other than the salvation of our enemies. To those who have reviled us, who have worked against us, or who have undermined us, our responsibility is clear: we are to bless and pray for them (Matthew 5:44; Luke 6:28).
Jesus is our example: “When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:23). You will not suffer greater injustice than Him; so in every situation, you are called to respond like Him.
In what situations and with which people are you tempted to hit back hard instead of meeting wrong with right? These three things will help you please God by doing good to those people. First, fix your eyes on Jesus. It is difficult to look at Christ upon the cross saying, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34), and then proceed to execute vengeance, in whatever form. Second, let the grace of God amaze you. Remember who you are by nature and who you have become by grace. It is impossible to be amazed by grace and wish ill to others. And third, focus on eternity and God’s higher throne. Your earthly situation is not the complete picture, and you do not need to see justice done in the here and now. So, ask God to help you to do good and endure, even when you are met by evil. He is ready to help you accomplish something that’s entirely in line with what He has commanded.
11For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.
Be Ready for Every Good Work
1Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, 2to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. 3For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. 4But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
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