Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.Rom. 12:19

     Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice.Prov. 24:17

     Dear heavenly Father, I love the taste of parmesan-crusted Halibut, perfectly grilled and buttered asparagus, and fresh chocolate gelato with walnuts on top. But I also savor stories of revenge, seasoned with spiteful retaliation and topped off with the gravy of extreme retribution—when the bad guy gets it even worse than he gave it. Alas, these Scriptures confront me today.

     It’s good to long for and to work for justice and to live for the Day of ultimate justice; but I must heed your warning to avoid a vengeful spirit like I would run from coiled rattlesnakes, toxic fumes, or E. coli-poisoned waters.

     No matter what the provocation—from a personal “dissing,” to evil parading its hatred of beauty—you are telling me I have no right to revenge, no right to gloat when an enemy falls, no right to get back at or to get even with anybody. You’re not calling me to be a doormat, but a man whose relational style is shaped by the gospel, in any and every situation. For that, I need tons of your grace.

     I’m so glad you didn’t “get even” with me, Father, for all the ways I rebelled (and do rebel) against you, for all the ways I’ve chosen my gain over your glory, for all the ways I’ve misrepresented you to the world, even to my own heart. You didn’t get even; you got generous with us through the gospel.

     May Jesus’ cross keep me humble and patient, wise and longing for the Day when you “put all things right”. I don’t want to waste precious time nursing grudges, fueling self-pity, or gloating over an “enemy’s” demise. Fill my heart with your grace and praise. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus’ merciful and mighty name.