“Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Reference: Romans 12:19-21 )
For an entire year (in fact twice for an entire year!) the focus of this blog was “Bread for the Enemy.” The first year was 2008, and the second year was 2013. The scripture passage citation were taken from the book Bread for the Enemy and based on the idea found in Romans that the best way to win over an enemy is to treat as a friend. This of course precludes taking revenge and wreaking vengeance.
But throughout the two years of commenting on passages that point to, advocate for, or cry out for peace and reconciliation, I also learned a lot about revenge and vengeance. Revenge/vengeance is not a “dish best served cold” but a meal served with warmth and caring. For are you not trying prove, beloved, that you are a better person than the one who hurt you or slighted you or injured you in some way? And by your warm and caring response, you leave your “enemy” with little options. Either the person responds back to you with care and warmth, and if so you have won over an enemy. Or they ignore your response and you have shown yourself to be the better person. Or they respond back with the same hatred etc that they first had, and don’t they look like the fool and bully that they are!
Leave straight vengeance to God. Human revenge and vengeance only lasts through this lifetime, and may not even last a lifetime. God’s vengeance, while maybe not being evident in this lifetime is indisputable for the life to come and will last for an eternity!
Choose the better beloved. Whether it be motivated by pure love of those who oppose you OR by the guidance and grace of God that values shalom above all things – may you choose to feed and care for those who set themselves up as your enemies. And may you live in such a way that no one would could you their enemy. Selah!