I love a good Western movie and one of my favorites is entitled, “Nevada Smith.” Produced in 1966, the movie epitomizes a great plot of revenge. The main character is a young man whose parents were tortured and killed by 3 “bad guys.” Nevada Smith then takes it upon himself to exact revenge on these 3 men, hunting them down as they spread out around the West. He kills the first 2, then chases the last one down in a creek. He shoots the man a couple of times in the leg and then rides off, leaving the wounded man lying in the creek yelling, “finish me!” He did it- revenge! Yes! He got back at those 3 men and gave them exactly what they deserved.
Well plots like that often leave us with a good emotional feeling: the feeling that justice has been served. However, our passage today reminds us that we should not be ones that try to exact revenge on people who do harm to us. Take a look at Romans 12:18-20 which reads, ” If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.”
Did you catch that phrase in verse 19 from the Lord? “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” It is not our place to exact revenge in anyway towards those who offend or harm us. To do so would be to take the place of the Lord. Instead, our reaction should be to feed a hungry enemy and provide water if he is thirsty. Now I certainly believe there is a time and place for national or personal defense and that we should just not figuratively roll-over to anyone who wants to harm us. But we also need to remember that God is on the throne, He sees the injustices that are being done and he will exact the proper revenge, sometimes in this life but more often in the life to come. Let’s leave revenge to God.