“Vengeance is Mine, Says the LORD.” — How many times have we used that scripture to reassure ourselves that the Lord will punish our enemies?
I know I sure have. I mean, why can’t I use it? It’s scriptural, right?
Deuteronomy 32:35 -It is mine to avenge; I will repay. In due time their foot will slip; their day of disaster is near and their doom rushes upon them.”
How many times have we been hurt by people in the past? Or could it be that we are still hurting right now after what someone has done unto us?
In all these things, whether past or present, for sure that some of us have wished the same thing to our adversaries… for the LORD to rise up and devour them.
Could it be a friend who stabbed you in the back? A lover who betrayed you? Family members who continually belittles you and make you feel worthless? Classmates who make fun of your faith? Workmates who abuse you and make you feel like such a push-over? Church members who gossip and says mean things about you? A leader who doesn’t appreciate you and makes you feel unworthy? — The list could go on and on.
I’ve had my fair share of hurt and pain caused by others. And I know that I’ve prayed to the Lord for Him to put my enemies to shame and to show them what’s up… but in a particular situation that happened recently in my life in where people have hurt me, instead of God rebuking them… He corrected me.
Yes, He did. As I pointed out what was wrong with them, He pointed out what was wrong with me. As I have pointed out how they’ve hurt me, He pointed out how I’ve possibly hurt them too. To the point where I got annoyed and questioned Him saying, “Didn’t You see how they’ve hurt me? Didn’t You see how they’ve offended me? Didn’t You see what they’ve done to me?!” –Me, me, me, me, me… Not noticing that all I thought about at that time was how I felt. Forgetting that Jesus, the Son of God, had the ultimate right to be offended on that cross yet openly chose to love.
His river of rebuke, filled with love and grace, reminded me of the time when I prayed to Him at the beginning of the year and said:
“Lord, help me love like Jesus. Help me love the unlovable. Strip me of any pride and help me humble myself down as Jesus did on that cross to save a sinner like me.”
Then BOOM! — His words just flowed and the river of His rebuke activated the waterfall of tears in my eyes. And oh boy was I overwhelmed. He began to tell me that instead of looking at other people’s faults, I needed to look at my own reflection and see whether I needed to work on mine.
Matthew 7:3-5 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Ouchie… *cry* – Oh it hurts to be called a hypocrite by the Lord! But though my heart was pierced through His rebuke, I felt no condemnation whatsoever. His correction was for my benefit anyway, to transform me and to make me become the person He called me to be.
Yes, people whom I’ve trusted have hurt me. But through it all, God made me realise that yes, vengeance is His, but how is my heart when I wish that vengeance upon them? Am I filled with hatred and scorn? Did not Jesus Himself say to His perpetrators: Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.
Just writing those words fills my heart with so much love and tears. Our wonderful Saviour, who was mocked, spat on, humiliated, crucified and scorned at, was still able to say these beautiful words filled with love and grace upon those people who put Him on that cross.
Why do I look at the speck of sawdust in those people who’ve hurt me, when I can look in the mirror, the Word of God, and see my own reflection. I needed to look like love, grace, mercy and forgiveness. I needed to do a mirror check and a heart check whether God is highlighting an area in my life that needs changing. God must’ve allowed these situations in my life for a reason, right?
Was He taking my patience to another level? Is He correcting me in terms of my compassion? Perhaps He wants me to accelerate more in love or in grace? Do I reflect Jesus? Or do I see me? One thing God reminded me was that my self should have died a long time ago and that Christ must now live in me. Now if my self died a long time ago, I needed to know… what does He want me to do? Maybe there’s still self-centredness in me that needed dying?
Galatians 2:20 – I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
So there we have it, God didn’t strike my enemies because He wanted me to grow more in love and grace. He used this situation to change me from glory to glory and to make me more Christ-like. God didn’t strike my enemies because I myself was blinded by the plank in my own eye and I myself needed things to work on within me. Out of His grace, He had to pluck it out. I realised this when I was walking down the street and I asked the Lord:
“Why did I get a rebuke from You when I was hurt? Why didn’t you assure me that what they did to me was wrong? Why didn’t I see Your vengeance upon those who’ve hurt me? Was it MY fault that they hurt me?”
Then He revealed to me, how would my attitude be like if I saw my enemies lowered by the Lord when my pride was at its high? How would it be like if a conceited person was comforted? Can you imagine a prideful person wishing vengeance upon other people and the Lord answers it? Oh no! Like adding fuel to the fire, it’s like the Lord allowing another dose of ego into my selfishness!
It’s a wonderful thing that our Lord is so full of wisdom that He knew just what to do. In all these things, He just wanted me to humble myself. He wanted me to be conformed to the image of His Son. The image of love, grace, mercy and forgiveness. To walk according to His perfect will in my life and to trust His good intentions.
So in all these things, let’s reflect on ourselves.
Have we wished vengeance upon others? In doing this, does it display love or hate? Pride or humility? Are we blinded by our own plank? Let’s carefully look at the situation and reflect on ourselves… How would Jesus truly want me to respond?
Jesus loves you.