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How To Make Peace

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

Offenses in relationships are just part of the deal. I’d love to say, “No, not us”, but I can’t, it isn't true. Because all have sinned, then we have sinned against someone - usually those closest to us. Since it is against another, then naturally, they could be against us. This is what the word “vengeance” means, to be against. If you “need” revenge, then you’re holding a grudge. Grudges are just chain-smoking hate which never brings peace. If we truly believe God’s got this - whatever it is, why do we need vengeance? Paul says in I Corinthians 13:5, that love keeps no record of wrongs. So if there’s an on-going record (list) of wrongs, how can there be peace? Vengeance is small minded, short term thinking. It may feel good in the moment, but not down the road. Peace lets God handle wrongs.

“On the contrary: ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Romans 12:20

Paul is quoting an age old command (Pr. 25:21-22), which is to be kind to your enemies. Jesus took this command one step further when He said in Matthew 5:43-46, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in Heaven.” In other words, when we obey Jesus, we treat others as God treats us.

Following Jesus’ advice keeps our hearts clean of petty retaliations and our consciences clear of ungodly acts. We never need forgiveness for doing good. And by doing good, our enemy can feel remorse for their behavior. This enhances the potential for the conflict to stop. But if we choose to return evil for evil, the fight may never end.

“If a man pays back evil for good, evil will never leave his house.” Proverbs 17:13

If we have done right by our enemy and they keep the fight going, refusing to repent because of our kindness, God will step in on our behalf and judge them harshly.

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21

The word “overcome” is actually the word “nike”, which means victory. Do not let the evil done to you steal your victory by allowing it to beat you. Be better than evil.

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