Jonathan Edwards’ Resolutions – #14

Resolved, Never to do any thing out of revenge.

Though this particular resolution is rather short, I feel like it holds quite a handful of implications for us all. Everyone has been a part of a situation which turned south, or has reason to feel cheated, cut-short, or feel like you were given the “short end of the stick,” as it were. With these feelings, a sense of entitlement can boil up within us. Without diving deep into the concept of pride and humility (perhaps I’ll spend some more time on another blog post discussing that), the Bible provides some explicit direction as to why we ought to leave revenge and “evening-the-score” to God Himself.

With a focus on two places in particular, Leviticus 19:18 says, “You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.” And Romans 12:19 states, “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.'” || These two scriptures outline rather plainly that revenge and retaliation is not something which we ought to be taking into our own hands, but something that the Lord will take care of in due time, on His own, sinless, terms. I do not wish to complicate this resolution much, as I feel that there is much clarity and directness made available to us in this Truth.

But how should we respond, then? Matthew 5:44 provides the answer in this tension: “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” As Christians, we are to be characterized by our love for one another, and for strangers (yes, even our enemies). This is impossible to do in our own power and under our own selfish desires. Through grace provided in Christ alone, we are able to allow love to be the predominant force in our lives, knowing that Christ will work everything out on His power, and it is not up to us to attempt to take things into our own hands.

So may we not feel entitled to act out to “even the score” or that we have to act on God’s behalf (which, if we’re honest, is typically anything but what God would desire in the first place), but rather, may we be characterized by our unfailing love, knowing that Christ is working and redeeming all things to Himself, that God may be glorified all the more.

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