An exhortation to not avenge oneself
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.” – Romans 12:19
Paul has already treated this earlier when he wrote, repay no one evil for evil. Here, he takes it a step further to say that the Christians in Rome were to not avenge themselves. There is a sense of justice here. When we have been wronged, the just thing to happen would be that the wrongdoer would be punished. That desire for justice is not, in and of itself, wrong.
Now, we will say, however, that it’s tainted with sin. Our sense of justice is not pure, like God’s. Our sense of justice is adulterated with pride and a lack of mercy. We think we deserve that everyone treats us fairly. But as we’ve already covered, we don’t on our own deserve anything except the wrath of God. And when we want justice, we’re usually not thinking about grace and mercy either.
This is why we should leave it to the wrath of God. Paul quotes from Deuteronomy to say, Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord. He is the only one perfectly good and perfectly just to deliver vengeance. So, vengeance need not even be on our minds. Our Lord will fight for us.
Sheep, are you vengeful? Are you inclined to get even? Never avenge yourself, but leave it to the wrath of God.