Newspapers might well be out of business had they no vengeance to report, or the hope for vengeance for aggrieved parties. One of the hardest duties for any person is to forgive other people, starting with their family and working through all the slights and offenses we have suffered. But God’s word is clear. He will exact judgment if you forgive. How does He repay?
In most cases, God repays in some way that does not reflect back on the person who was violated. But, at the same time, the judgment is appropriate to the crime.
Romans 12:19 New King James Version (NKJV) Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,”[a] says the Lord.
I have three true stories spanning 40 years as examples. My friend was an ER nurse back in the early 1970s at a major hospital where abortions had become quite popular with one particular doctor. Abortion was newly legal then and less common than today. The doctor’s practice was quite controversial. In the course of her duties she saw small babies literally torn from limb to limb, like a dissection one might expect from a careful butcher.
One night she was on duty when a 16-year-old girl’s body was brought into the Emergency Room. She has been in an automobile accident and was torn limb to limb. Her father? The abortion doctor.
A new missionary was sent to the Philippines to work at a megachurh. From the very beginning she was ignored and not given appropriate work. Even the small salary she was promised produced not a single peso.
Frustrated one day she asked the church’s lead secretary why things had gone so badly. The woman replied, “You are the fourth person they’ve done this to.” She was a little surprised, wondering what had happened to the others. She became quite sick and was forced to leave early. It was then she learned she had been slandered to the church authorities and her future with that denomination was over. No job, no pension, and perhaps no hope. Still, she forgave and said nothing.
Three years later she learned what had happened to this pastor and his wife. He had been caught in a long time affair with the one person who had formerly refused to work with the missionary – jealousy I guess. God exposes sin publicly when the person refuses to repent or change his/her ways. This sometimes takes years. And the wife-slanderer had broken her jaw and face so badly it took years to heal. At no time did the missionary defend herself or lash out. You can imagine when your whole career has been trashed she might have some unforgiveness. The punishment for the crime was the broken jaw, an appropriate pay-back for slander, don’t you think?
Jimmy has been for many years a car dealer. He bought only one brand of auto or truck and then found new buyers. He’d been doing this for many years. An older woman sold Jimmy her truck, she was happy with the price, and thought little more about it.
In a few months a huge bill for toll tags came to her mailbox. Jimmy had never transferred her title, and that of others for many years but this time he was caught when the new driver used the toll tag feature. There are three sins here. First, this man had been avoiding both Federal and State Vehicle sales taxes for many years, both a state and a federal crime. 2nd, the tag bill was clearly his responsibility, so he also stole money from this woman The 3rd and final insult was that he violated one of the main laws of God – the fleecing or spoiling of “widows houses.” God takes very seriously any injury to older women, the weak, the poor and orphans.
Job 24:3 (TLB) and even the donkeys of the poor and fatherless are taken. Poor widows must surrender the little they have as a pledge to get a loan.
Within 2 years Jimmy was dead after a long painful illness of ALS, Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
Why is God’s Repayment Required?
Was it necessary these people suffer God’s vengeance? Absolutely not. They could have at any point in their lives turned to the Lord, left the lies, the tax evasion and abortion behind. Many doctors refuse to perform abortions. Most car dealers pay their taxes. Most ministers do not slander the workers in their church.
But there comes a point in history when God says, time’s up. It is all too easy to believe God has not judged evil, or will not judge it, simply because we may not see justice done, or it comes after we are dead and gone, or after the truth is finally brought to light. That is why our forgiveness must be immediate and complete. The longer we hold on to our anger and desire for revenge the longer God is not available to handle the case on His own. The wrong attitude on your part stands in His way.
Nations will Pay for Sins against God’s People
And yes, He judges nations. The curse on Islam has been accumulating judgment for centuries. This too will end.
Genesis 12:3 I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.”[a]
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The Ministry of the Watchman – An observer on the wall sharing a report of what God is seeing and doing in the world at large and also in the congregations of His people. Cornelia Scott Cree, Watchman, Change Agent, Essayist.
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