Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Proverbs 20:22 commentary; No "getbacks" allowed

22 ¶ Say not thou, I will recompense evil; but wait on the LORD, and he shall save thee.

We are not supposed to seek revenge for wrongs done to us. Once again, we are not supposed to seek revenge after being wronged. (Notice that “save” doesn’t always mean to save from Hell or even from death. Look at the context each time.) I realize you don’t like that but that’s just the way it is. You’ll do what you want and live as people have always lived, wanting your “propers” and your “getbacks”, but you are making a mockery of your so called faith when you do. This is not about self defense; defending your life and person or the life and person of an innocent third party with force in order to keep someone from physically attacking. This is about something you face on a daily basis.

In one of the books written directly to Christians in this age of the church, just so there’s no question, it says;

Romans 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

Jesus Himself said directly to His own disciples;

Matthew 5:43 ¶ Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans (tax collectors) the same? 47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? 48 Be ye therefore perfect (complete, finished, without any deficiency; see 2 Chronicles 8:16; Colossians 4:12), even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

Again, in a different discourse in the gospel according to Luke;

Luke 6:27 ¶ But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, 28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. 29 And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also. 30 Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. 31 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. 32 For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. 33 And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. 34 And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. 35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. 36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.

You won’t hear many sermons about this because it’s not pleasing in any way to the flesh. There’s no feeling of heightened spirituality or a closer walk with God, at least for the men, in not retaliating for wrongs done. If we can’t sue or hit or yell at someone who has done us wrong we feel defeated, beaten, and perhaps dominated. That’s our flesh. It’s the same flesh that makes us think sexual thoughts that we would be better off without, that are improper or wrongly placed. It’s the same flesh that makes us want things we don’t have and be unsatisfied with the material possessions we do have.

If you’re healthy, strong, athletic, and particularly if you know how to fight or use a weapon, making someone pay for disrespecting yourself, your wife, or your children just jumps out of your human heart like a mugger ambushing you from a dark alley.

However, next to loving your brothers and sisters in Christ in the right way and having a heart for the lost in understanding their ignorance and desiring their salvation, this is the thing that shows you really do have the proof of, the fruit of the Spirit of God dwelling in you and it’s almost impossible to fake.

It doesn’t have to be a gunshot or a punch or a stab or even a hastily filed lawsuit or call to the police. It can be something as simple as that last sarcastic word you say during a disagreement. It can be the cold silence that comes with fury.

You want revenge, also, because you don’t trust God. You don’t really have faith in God as much as you have faith in your faith. You want revenge because you are afraid God won’t do it your way. You’re afraid that the other person will get off ‘scot free’ for disrespecting you. After all, if you ever change your religion it will be because you no longer think that YOU’RE God. You want revenge because you know, in your heart of hearts, that God isn’t looking at the problem your way.

Your carnal, fleshy view of life and your carnal Christianity is a sham when you seek revenge. It reveals a true lack of faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, whom you represent on this earth as His ambassador like Paul was in Ephesians 6:20. You simply, if you must get revenge against your wife, your husband, your child, your neighbor, your boss, your relative, or a stranger, are a phony. You’re a hypocrite. You’re an actor playing a role and not doing too well at it.

You might appear at meetings of the church whenever the door is opened. You might go out “soul winning” whenever the call comes. You might come up in front of the church after every sermon. You might use only churchspeak around other people to show your commitment to Christ. You might not watch carnal TV or movies or drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes or curse and swear, consent to immoral behavior and lifestyles in others or yourself. You might read your Bible every day and pray often. You might be a separated, blood washed, born again Christian but if you don’t love God, don’t love the brethren, don’t have a heart for the lost, don’t show the fruit of the Spirit in your life, and have a need to revenge the wrongs other people do to you either real or imagined, then you are no better than the most godless pagan that may have sacrificed babies to Baal in Old Testament times.

When we seek revenge, when we seek to recompense the evil done to us, we show that we have no faith in the power of Christ or in His love for us. None. Remember this the next time your wife “deliberately forgets” to pick up something at the store you asked her to, when your husband “doesn’t care” how stressed out the kids are making you, when your neighbor “doesn’t seem to care” that his son’s loud music and raunchy friends are keeping you awake, when someone as out of it as you are “hatefully and intentionally” cuts you off in traffic, and when that worthless yoyo at work gets the promotion that you know he knows you deserved. Whenever the spirit of “get back” rises in your mind remember whose you are, who paid for you with His own blood, and who you represent on this earth.

In America, as yet, you don’t have to deal with many of the things Christians have to deal with in Moslem countries, the Philippines, or even in the secular countries of Europe. You’re free to pass out tracts, to witness, to preach on the streets, to go to revival meetings, and to meet with the church, for the most part, without fear of retaliation or persecution. But when you are persecuted you are almost ready to glory in it as a badge of consecration to Christ. Why is it then that you can’t handle the little disrespect you receive in your personal life?

Say not thou, I will recompense evil; but wait on the LORD, and he shall save thee.”

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