Useful Bible Studies > Romans Commentary > chapter 12

Revenge and the judgement of God

Romans 12:19

Early in the world’s history, people considered it their right to punish anyone who hurt them (Genesis 4:23-24). That is called 'revenge'. Acts of great cruelty were often the result of it. Families would take action on behalf of someone who had died. Often then whole families, town and nations would join in the fight.

Kings and rulers wanted control over such matters for themselves. They appointed judges and they set up courts. Often, they did this not to stop the cruelty, but rather to increase their own power.

However, even in our modern world, people still act as if they have that right. Perhaps they cannot actually punish the person who caused their trouble. So instead, they choose to have bitter feelings towards that person. Or, perhaps they try to find an opportunity to upset that person. For example, they may choose to say bad things against that person. Or, they may try to cause trouble for that person.

God’s people have a different attitude: they forgive (Luke 17:3-4). They cannot of course deny that evil things have happened. However, they recognise God to be the perfect judge (Genesis 18:25). So, they hand over all their rights in such matters to him. They appeal to him to deal with the matter instead of them (Genesis 4:10; Revelation 6:10). With such an attitude, they have no bitter feelings, because it is not still their right to punish the guilty person. It is a matter for God alone to deal with, and all his judgements are right and good (Revelation 19:1-2).

Next part: Like burning coals on your enemy's head (Romans 12:20)


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© 2018, Keith Simons.