Devising revenge in our minds shows the depravity of our hearts and reveals the enormity of our need to be filled with the Spirit.
32 “If you have played the fool and exalted yourself, or if you have planned evil, clap your hand over your mouth! Pr 30:32
We’ve all done it. We dream of the things we would like to do to the person who wrongs us while driving or at work or at school or even at home! We watch movies where the hero gets revenge on the bad guy; we cheer when the villain gets his or her come-uppance.
Are we wrong to feel this way? Not at all (have you read the Psalms lately?!) But, Jesus has asked us to go beyond the justice of this world to the reality of the finality of eternity.
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.
Viewing our persecutors as prospective brothers and sisters in Christ is a huge leap from our natural feelings of vengeance. Yet, if we truly want Christ to fill us and use us, then we must think like He does, and He sees prospective Christ- followers everywhere! As long as we are in this world, there is time for everyone to repent.
45b He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Mt 5:43-48
Perfection here is mature, complete, whole, well- rounded; it is being like God on all levels. “Selective service” is what I call it when we pick and choose how we will serve the Lord. That’s not the way it works! HE is LORD. HE chooses what we do and how we do it. He has told us to love our enemies and to pray for them; that is what we need to do.
An ex-enemy of God wrote this about Him:
10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Phl 3:10-14
– Paul the Apostle