"Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, 'Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,' says the Lord."
- Romans 12:19 NASB
Yesterday, I stepped out my front door to receive a delivery, and I couldn't help but notice that someone had thrown raw eggs at my house. A shudder ran through me as I recalled the vicious attacks against our home and property that my family had endured in years past. Things had been blissfully quiet for the most part in recent years, and I had almost forgotten about our former troubles with some of our neighbors. As I fought back tears of hurt and frustration, I sensed the Lord telling me that I had two choices before me: I could either seek revenge and retaliation against the guilty party, or I could prayerfully put the matter in God's hands, trusting Him to execute justice for me. It didn't take long for me to make a firm decision to let the Lord fight this battle for me. My husband, on the other hand, decided that he wanted revenge.
The Bible says: "When angry, do not sin; do not ever let your wrath (your exasperation, your fury or indignation) last until the sun goes down. Leave no [such] room or foothold for the devil [give no opportunity to him]." (Ephesians 4:26-27 AMP) There are times when we'll be attacked, and the Lord will give us some time to simmer down. But He won't give us much time. Scripture indicates that if we don't let go of our "wrath" quickly--at least by the end of the day--then we are "leaving room for the devil." In other words, we are opening the door for Satan and his evil forces to come into our lives and "steal, kill, and destroy." (John 10:10) It may sound like God is being unreasonable by asking us to "get over [our] anger quickly," as one translation says. But the truth is, He doesn't want us to make ourselves vulnerable to satanic attack. If my husband really thought about it, he would recall that whenever he stayed angry at our hostile neighbors in the past, our problems only multiplied. As I look back, I have no doubt that we gave the devil an open invitation to wreak havoc in our lives by holding on to our wrath and indignation for too long.
Whenever someone hurts or attacks us, we have to decide if we are going to "leave room" for the devil's involvement--or for God's. Scripture says: "Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: 'It is mine to avenge; I will repay,' says the Lord." (Romans 12:19 NIV) Our God is a God of justice (Isaiah 30:18), but He reserves the right to exact that justice in His way and timing. By refusing to take our own revenge in a situation, and by prayerfully and purposefully putting the matter into God's hands, we open the door for Him to render the devil helpless, and to work the situation out for our good. (Romans 8:28) It's important for us to remember that just because we let someone "off the hook" in obedience to the Lord, it doesn't mean that they are off God's hook. As we fight our battles God's way, you can bet that He'll deal with those who wrong us, even if He doesn't allow us to see exactly how He does that.
As I watched my husband laboring to clean the egg mess off our house, I sensed the Lord saying to me, "Find something to thank Me for in this situation." I thought about His scriptural command which says: "Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be; be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus." (1 Thessalonians 5:18 AMP) So I began to thank the Lord that even though some of the eggs had hit our glass windows, none of them had been broken. As I shared my gratitude with my husband, his anger began to subside. Even he had to admit that it was a miracle that there wasn't more damage to our house, and that we had a lot to be thankful for. We finally both agreed to trust God to handle the matter, and to "leave room" for Him to act on our behalf.
Prayer: Lord, when I'm hurt or attacked in some way, show me if there's some constructive action I can take, or if it's Your will for me to simply "be still." (Exodus 14:14) Remind me that when I choose to react with unrestrained anger or revenge, I open the door to the destructive forces of darkness. Thank You that as I leave room for You and Your justice, I will experience supernatural safety and deliverance!
- J. M. Farro