Text: Romans 12:17-21
I. When someone strikes you, what is the first impulse?
A. Why, to strike back
B. It has been with us since childhood. “I’ll get even!”
1. Therein is the core. We want to strike back because we feel justice has not be carried out
C. But I’ve noticed that it is never an equal strike back. The desire is to strike back with greater force so that he’ll think twice before doing it again.
1. Herodias held a grudge against John the Baptist because he pointed out that her marriage to Herod Antipas was wrong - Mark 6:17-20
a. As a result, she trapped Herod into giving her John’s head - Mark 6:22-27
2. James and John were upset that one town didn’t want Jesus to stay - Luke 9:51-56
3. The impulse is that “justice” is needed, but in neither of our examples was the consequence just in light of what happened.
D. Thus, we are warned not to say, “I’ll get even!” - Proverbs 24:29
II. The Jews had convinced themselves that revenge was required by God - Matthew 5:38-40
A. It was a misapplication of rules given to judges - Leviticus 24:19-20
1. This wasn’t about personal vengeance, it was applying a just punishment after a court hearing found a person guilty.
2. The law actually taught not to seek revenge - Leviticus 19:18
B. Instead of retaliating against a personal insult, Jesus taught that we give extra
C. We are to show love to those who think we are enemies - Luke 6:27-35
D. “But he did this to me!”
1. God with handle the problem, even if justice isn’t served by our fellow men - Proverbs 20:22
2. And waiting seems so difficult!
3. Consider that if someone does you wrong, then returning in kind must equally be wrong - Romans 2:1
III. Return good for evil
A. Good never comes from evil - Romans 3:8
B. Good has a chance of changing a person - Romans 12:17-21
1. The burning coals is alluding to a blacksmith’s forge.
2. Someone may be as stubborn as iron, but iron softens when it is heated.
3. Good deeds are the coals that soften a stubborn person.
C. Give blessings in return for railings - I Peter 3:9
D. Encourage others to do this as well - I Thessalonians 5:15
E. So how do you do it?
1. First be patient - Colossians 3:12-13
a. Count to ten. Give yourself time for your anger to calm down
b. James 1:19-20
2. Purposely set out to do good in return
a. Proverbs 25:21-22 - Have your enemies over for a meal
b. Exodus 23:5 - Lend a hand, especially when the impulse is to pretend you didn’t notice.
3. Gently teach - II Timothy 2:24-26
4. Gently reprove - Galatians 6:1
IV. Why do you think that you are so important that you have to get back at everyone who crosses you? - Galatians 6:3
A. Have you considered that you are only here because God has been patient with you? - II Peter 3:9
B. Extend the same patient courtesy to your fellow man