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What the Bible says about Vindictiveness
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Romans 12:17-20

Paul's counsel to the congregation in Rome (Romans 12:17-20; 13:8-10) is clearly in line with what Jesus taught. He insists that we must never allow vindictiveness, the desire to get even with someone for a suffered wrong, to drive us.

In the same vein, Peter taught that we must not repay evil with evil, insult with insult, but we must bless (I Peter 3:8-9). Why are we called to react this way? Because if we want to be in God's Kingdom, it can only happen without the spirit of murder dwelling in us, and those evil retaliations are the spirit of murder. We are not to take vengeance because God has retained that responsibility to Himself. Is that not the way it should be? Only He fully knows and understands every facet of the circumstances and can judge perfectly. By the way, Paul addresses the issue of retaliation four times in Romans 12, which begins by stating that we are to be living sacrifices and not to conform to this world's ways.

The picture should be clear. Somebody must be willing to do this if there will be peace. Jesus set the example: He, refusing to strike back, died for the entire world. Christ's non-retaliatory remedy is ultimately for everybody's benefit, but until He returns, the standards He set can be met and lived only by those who, like Jesus, have the Spirit of God, are living by faith, and are enabled to keep God's ways by God Himself.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Sixth Commandment

Colossians 3:22-24

There are two ways to submit. Both of them are good, but one is better than the other. It is better to submit grimly, even with resentment, than not to submit at all. But it is far better to submit as cheerfully and sincerely as we possibly can. We do it, not because the other person is better, not because we are cowards, not because we are weak - we do it because, in our mind's eye, we see God on His throne.

Our submission is always a response to Him. So we can do it with a smile, with gracious courtesy, and with determination. God makes the point very clearly that, even though a person has done wrong in abusing us, we do not have the right to retaliate. God expects us to submit cheerfully as an act of faith.

There is another reason why God wants us to do this. When a person retaliates, his mind is never pure. There is revenge and anger in him, even vindictiveness. And contrary to the saying, revenge is not sweet; it is a poison that breeds war! If an injured or abused person does not lower his standard to that of the abuser, God is free to work-the oppressor might even be changed to the high standard of the oppressed.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Submitting (Part 2)


 




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