#TalkingThursday – If you don’t talk about Jesus who will?
Someone hurt you. really badly. and now all you can think about is how you’re going to screw them over. You want to fight these thoughts,
or maybe you don’t but it’s slowly consuming your time – it’s all you can think about. How can you overcome this deadly lust for revenge?
Do not do wrong to repay a wrong, and do not insult to repay an insult [repay evil for evil or insult for insult]. But repay with a blessing, because you yourselves were called [by God] to do this so that you might receive [inherit] a blessing [Luke 6:27–29].
—1 Peter 3:9-12 [EXB, Emphasis on v.9]
At the start of this year, we examined 12 instructions given to us from I Thessalonians 5:12-22. We decided to implement these instructions by doing at least one of them each month. Following our list, the instruction for June is to:
Repay evil with good.
The full instruction under this verse reads: see that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. Matthew Henry’s Commentary notes: No matter what man does to us, we must do good to others.
Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honourable. Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord.
— Romans 12:17;19 [NLT]
It’s clear and simple. No explanation needed. You know this verse, yet revenge is all you can think about, so what should you do?
Step 1: Forgive; It’s About Jesus Not The Other Person.
They don’t need to apologise before you let go and forgive them. Yes, the concept of unilateral forgiveness is the purest kind of forgiveness and it’s totally biblical. As a Christian, you owe everyone a debt of love [Romans 13:8] — a love which holds fast to good, does not envy or seek revenge. A big,
if not the biggest part of your debt to this person who hurt you is to let that hurt go. Just as Christ forgave you, you ought to forgive this person. In fact, because Christ forgave you; you must forgive that person. To do otherwise is to trample upon Christ’s forgiveness and scoff at his love for you on Calvary. To understand this better, see the story of the two debtors in Matthew 18:21-35!
Step 2: Pray; It’s About More Than You Can See.
Now, that we admit that the onus is on you to forgive, up next you must realise there are forces in the background – forces you can’t physically see – that have vested interests in you remaining bitter and vengeful. There are principalities and powers, spirits seeking to take advantage of your desire for revenge.
They don’t want you to forgive that person AT ALL. They’re waiting for malice and bitterness to take root in your heart so they can jump in and make their home in your mind. Then they’ll begin to torment you with anger, depression and suicide. It’s an entire cycle.
What you’re fighting against isn’t just yourself, but other things you cannot see. So put on the armour of God and stand firm in prayer [Ephesians 6:10-18]. Pray against the desire for revenge, ask the Lord to give you the grace to forgive, and to empower your mind not to dwell on the hurtful event but rather to work it out for your good.
Step 3: Move On; Pay It Forward, Not Backward.
This is the most important bit. Revenge makes you pay it backwards. It grounds the rest of your life on a false identity based on a negative thing that someone else did to you, rather than letting you process those emotions and move on to who you really are. The more you become fixated on what happened, the more you’re stuck in that “time/mindset” and it gets increasingly difficult to move on.
As the popular saying goes: Hurt people, hurt people.…so, don’t be a “hurt person”. Choose not to inflict your scars on others, instead be like Jesus who used His scars to restore hope and faith to those who were discouraged and downcast [John 20:24-29].
Part of God working out things for you good is bringing you in proximity with those who have faced a similar experience and using you to serve as a comforter or encourager in their lives. So for example, if you’ve been raped or molested before, you can go on to counsel rape or sexually abused victims or kids – this is paying it forward. Ask the Lord, to lead you to where your hurt can be used to heal another person, rather than letting it tear you down!
THE SECRET TO MOVING ON.
For the Scriptures say, “If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies. Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it. The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil.” — 1 Peter 3:10-12 [NLT]
The secret to enjoying life and having happy days after you’ve been hurt badly is simply to LET GO. Seek peace and work hard in pursuing after it. Then when you come to the Lord asking him to restore your happiness and give you joy, He will look kindly upon you and answer your prayers because you come to him with a heart that is not bent on doing evil.
If you come to him with a mindset of revenge, wanting to inflict harm on those who have hurt you, your prayers will go nowhere because the Lord is against those seeking to do evil to others — it doesn’t matter if “they started it” or not. [See Psalm 34:12-16].
Finally, when we respond to evil with joy, it confounds the kingdom of darkness because you are not acting in line with their expectations. When we harbour a mindset of revenge, on the other hand, we create a dangerous vicious cycle of bitterness and resentment. So please don’t be that person. Do the opposite. Forgive, pray, let go and move on to a better, happier life!
Grace & Peace!