Avenge Not Yourself

We’re all familiar with Romans 12 and how we’re not supposed to be conformed to the world. We think we do this when we don’t drink and don’t do weed and we stand against weird sexual sins.

Although that might be part of it, the rest of the chapter gives a different idea. Most of the ideas can be summed up with Paul’s command, “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves.”

This is a mighty radical statement. If you’re not blown away by it, I dare say you’re not hearing it.

When they serve your coffee wrong, do you get all up in their face? Do you use a tone of voice that conveys how stupid they are? Knowing they will throw it out if you take it back, should you just drink it?

Oh come on, give me a break! You think Paul is talking about wrong coffee orders?

No, that’s not all he’s talking about, but he’s clearly telling you to act differently than the world. I’ve seen how people treat those who serve them. It aint nice.

“Avenge” mean to retaliate, to get back at someone, to vindicate one’s right. It basically means to bless and curse not those who misuse you. We’re not just being called to not do something. Paul goes on to say we let the Lord do the avenging while we go out of our way to love those who wronged us.

It just goes from one level of insane to another.

You know you’ve heard him right when everything within you objects to what you’re being told to do. Here’s a quote from Donald Barnhouse:

“Never avenge yourself.” The natural heart will spout a stream of objections, but the answer of the Bible is, “never avenge yourself.” There is no way around it. It is a flat statement that has no loopholes. It does not say, “Never avenge yourselves except under such and such conditions.” It says, “Never avenge yourself.”

That is indeed what it says. When you’ve been robbed, attacked, criticized, cut off, interrupted, disrespected, when your rights have been trampled. It even applies to the most egregious of insults, when you are absolutely right and yet misused, even then, don’t avenge yourself.

Then the topper: let it go, let God deal with it, and show your adversary nothing but love and provision. Not just happy thoughts and a smile, but food if they are hungry and drink if they are thirsty.

Yes, give them actual things.

We are called to love people. Love goes above and beyond, even to the point of laying your life down for someone else’s benefit. Kind of like your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ did for you!

He’s our example. We all love talking about what He did for us and we love this teaching when others do it for us, but it gets real annoying when I’m supposed to let things go and do nice things for people who are clearly stupid and wrong and have accused me of false things.

Never avenge yourself.


Love all the time. Esteem others better than yourself. You can be offended by this teaching. We Americans have been inundated our whole lives about our rights. Be not conformed to the world. One huge way to do that is by giving up your rights.

I pray you understand what Christ did for you. If it has meant a lot to you, if what He did changed your life, then show others that same love so that their life might be changed by Christ too.

No one said following Christ would be easy. In fact, that’s why most Christians think following Christ is optional or at best explained away with nuanced circumstances and loopholes.

Don’t do that. Be like Christ. Commit your life into the hands of the Righteous Judge. Love. Forgive. Show mercy. Avenge not yourselves.

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