Daily encouragement

Video by

Mia Carson

ACF Devo Team

dive deeper

Romans 12:19-21

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." To the contrary, "if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Behind the Scenes

The summer sermon series at ACF has been centered on the Gospel of Mark, showing the counter-cultural message that Jesus brought to his day and how incredibly applicable it is still today. People are hungry for truth and grace, but the world gives them a smorgasbord of choices centered on themselves. Jesus is actually the embodiment of both, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

Our focus Scripture today concerns vengeance. Culturally, vengeance is a powerful motivator as evidenced in the movies put out today. We all love to see the bad guys get taken down by the good guy driven by the desire to “get back” at what they did to him. We feel justice has rightfully been served.

But Jesus knows this kind of response is directly opposed to His message of love as we place ourselves in the position of judge, jury, and executioner. We can play these parts at any level of offense from a slighted comment to a physical altercation whereby we desire revenge, an “eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”

Jesus flips everything upside down. Vengeance is the realm of God because only He can administer perfect justice, and because, as Creator, he has the final say in all things. This is good news! The desire to repay an offense in-kind creates anger, bitterness, and resentment, emotions that are not only mentally devastating but spiritually devastating, as well.  Jesus wants to remove that burden from us because He knows the Father will make everything right in the end.

Instead, Jesus offers the alternative of grace. He doesn’t tell us to just forget about the offense. We are called higher. Our response is not to repay but to love our enemies: "if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.” Not an easy thing to do, right?

Make it Real

On a personal level, we’ve all been hurt, and we have hurt others. Let us not forget that fact. When we strive for revenge, be aware that our actions can and do cause a chain reaction of cause and effect. People don’t live in a vacuum. Vengeful actions hurt those around the targeted person and the cycle of revenge begins.

Jesus came to break that cycle. He demonstrated it on a cosmic scale by taking on the entire sin of mankind - all the offenses humanity had committed against His heavenly Father and against each other. Justice was served at the cross so that you and I can receive grace and not the eternal retribution of a righteous Creator.

This grace is what we turn to when we want to strike back at those who hurt us, especially those who have betrayed us.  Jesus also knew what it was like to be denied and betrayed as evidenced by some of his disciples. But Jesus promises to make all things right. When we release our vengeful thoughts and desires to Him, his Holy Spirit is then able to overcome and give us what we really desire – peace.

End in Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father, I praise you because you have shown me grace and love. The peace you give is such a beautiful thing! May your peace dwell in me today so that I may pursue deeper relationships around me, exhibiting your love to those who don’t know you. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen!

Written by

Danny Venhaus

ACF Operations Director