MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Monday, September 23rd. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Next up, commentator Trillia Newbell has some thoughts on forgiveness.
TRILLIA NEWBELL, COMMENTATOR: Have you ever been wronged? I mean really wronged?
I have and it hurt. But I don’t know what hurt me worse, the actions done against me or the bitterness that took over my heart. I was bitter and wanted the person to pay for their wrongdoing.
Besides unforgiveness, my problem was that I didn’t trust God to take care of me or to do justly in this situation.
It isn’t a surprise to the Lord that we would struggle with a temptation to take justice into our own hands rather than entrust it to the Lord. Paul instructs us in Romans 12 to:
“Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 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.’”
You and I can indeed seek justice through our justice system, church discipline, and a number of other means. But we are not to do so by evil means—like slander, coercion, blackmail, and gossip.
We are instead to “give thought to what we do” and ask whether or not it glories and honors the Lord. Ultimately—and often most painfully—we are to forgive. Just as he has forgiven us (Eph. 4:32).
The good news is that God will not allow injustices to remain unpunished. He is a God of justice and vengeance belongs to him. We may not see it happen now, but we know he will make all wrongs right in the end.
The knowledge of God’s ultimate justice should humble and sober us. This isn’t a time to bask in the impending misery of others. We should mourn. We should pray for those who have wronged us. But we can also rest. Trusting in the character and promises of God brings us peace. Knowing that we don’t have to play God takes the burden from our shoulders so we can speak and act in love.
God calls us to a radical love that includes loving our perceived enemies. We won’t do it perfectly, but by the grace and power of God we can do more good than harm. We can strive to live peaceably with all no matter what the cost and no matter what they’ve done or who they are.
It is hard to exercise a love for someone who has harmed us. But it is exactly what we should do. And with God’s help, we can (John 15:5; Matt 19:26).
For WORLD Radio, I’m Trillia Newbell.