Bitterness and Vengeance
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Greetings, and welcome again to Meditation Moments, and God bless you and make you a blessing.
We are praying for you, and your letters certainly tell a story. We’ve received some interesting letters just recently, and because a number of them tell about how people have been mistreated, or misjudged, or unjust treatment of some kind, we decided to talk tonight about this matter.
I found a little tract by Mr. Nathaniel Olsen, and he begins it this way: “A small boy prayed, ‘Lord, make all the bad people good, and then, Lord, make all the good people nice.’” Well, unfortunately, many good Christian people aren’t nice.
A lady advertised for a young woman to be her traveling companion, and she closed the advertisement thus: “Christian wanted; cheerful, if possible.” Evidently this woman had found that some Christian souls lacked a cheerful disposition. Sometimes we have to live with people like that, and that seems to be the problem expressed in quite a number of these letters. Some of the letters show that resentment is building up in the heart, and one even smacks a little of almost hatred. Another has a judging spirit towards the one that’s mistreating them. Sometimes between husband and wife, sometimes it’s an in-law, but we do receive these kinds of letters.
I’ve turned to Scripture, and there in Matthew 7:1 I find, “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” Let’s be careful about that, for verse 2 says, “For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” That should make us a little thoughtful about the way we criticize others, for exactly what you give will be exactly what you receive.
Regarding that person whom you feel is so unjust to you, don’t take it into your own hands. Better be a little hesitant about the judging, better have mercy on that person, for the Word states in James 2:12,13b, “So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath showed no mercy.” Better to judge by the Law of Love—God’s law.
The next verse is even more sobering, Romans 2:1–4: “Therefore, thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them that commit such things. And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? Or despisest thou the riches of His goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?”
Oh, what an awful thing to bear a grudge, or a critical spirit, or hatred of another! If you are a professing Christian, it is far better to forgive and forget that injustice, that awful thing that’s been done against you, than to have that condemnation of God upon you. And I think these verses make it very plain just what the reaping is going to be.
Beloved, don’t take vengeance into your own hands; don’t hit back. Don’t let bitterness creep into your heart. Nothing will so ruin your disposition as to let bitterness get in the heart. God’s Word says, “Beware lest there be even any little root of bitterness found in you” (Hebrews 12:15). God will take care of that person in due time, if you leave the whole matter in His hands.
In Deuteronomy 32:35 He says, “To me belongeth vengeance, and recompense; their foot shall slide in due time.” Better pity and love that one, for pity they will need when they fall into the hands of an angry God, who says in Romans 12:19, “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; and I will repay, saith the Lord.”
Perhaps you feel you just have to do something about the wrong that’s been done to you and the slandering you’ve suffered and the cruel words flung at you. You think God’s too slow, and you’re going to have to take it in your own hands and hurt them as they’ve hurt you, and bring vengeance on them. But you’ll only hurt yourself and disobey God, and get out of His will and have a broken fellowship, and that’s going to make things a whole lot worse.
The Lord knows all about it, and He speaks with finality regarding your forgiving that person, no matter how unfair it’s all been. He says, “If you forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive you your trespasses” (Matthew 6:15). And Matthew states it thus, “So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother his trespasses” (Matthew 18:35).
Beloved, this I know: you can’t do it yourself, not in the natural. It has to be the Spirit of Christ working in and through you. I can of my own self do nothing. Lay the whole problem at Jesus’ feet. Tell Him about it, then positively commit it to Him; leave it with Him. He’ll begin to work. This isn’t what you feel like doing, but this is what the world needs to see: God’s love manifested through His born-again children.
This is a true test of discipleship, for it says in John, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye love one another” (John 13:35). It’s God’s love working through you as you yield it all to Him. It’ll be a miracle if you can love that person, a miracle of God’s grace, but that’s His promise to you and it is His grace that is supplied to you.
This is the Law of Love. He waits to help you; He wants to. How wonderful it will be when there will be no veil or cloud between you and Him, when the indwelling Holy Spirit can work out through you the full purpose of His will and His plan for your life, because it’s utterly surrendered to Him with all of its problems and all of these things which harass you. God knows about it and He cares and He loves you.
I know that this isn’t entirely applicable, but a little girl left a note on a tree. She was been abused in an orphan’s home. Nobody liked her, she was just impossible, and they went out to see what the note was that she’d left, because it was against the rules of the home. And this is what it said: “To anybody who finds this note, I love you.” Oh, that’s the spirit to have, to love everybody as God loves you!
My weakened will, Lord, Thou canst renew;
My sinful nature Thou canst subdue;
Fill me just now with power anew;
Power to pray and power to do!
Teach me to pray, Lord, teach me to pray;
Thou art my pattern day unto day;
Thou art my surety, now and for aye;
So teach me to pray, Lord, teach me to pray.
Living in Thee, Lord, and Thou in me,
Constant abiding, this is my plea;
Grant me Thy power, boundless and free,
Power with men and power with Thee.
From “Teach Me to Pray,” by Albert Simpson Reitz, 1878–1966
Remember, God is still on the throne, and prayer will change things.