As I finished my daily reading of God’s Word in the book of Genesis this morning the story of Joseph and his family drew to a close. As the story ended a significant thing happened. Jacob, the father of the 12 sons of Israel, died in Egypt. Immediately, his 10 sons who had betrayed Joseph thought that since their father was gone Joseph would now take revenge on them for selling him into slavery. But they could not have been more wrong! Read what actually happened:
But now that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers became fearful. “Now Joseph will show his anger and pay us back for all the wrong we did to him,” they said. So they sent this message to Joseph: “Before your father died, he instructed us to say to you: ‘Please forgive your brothers for the great wrong they did to you—for their sin in treating you so cruelly.’ So we, the servants of the God of your father, beg you to forgive our sin.” When Joseph received the message, he broke down and wept. Then his brothers came and threw themselves down before Joseph. “Look, we are your slaves!” they said. But Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. No, don’t be afraid. I will continue to take care of you and your children.” So he reassured them by speaking kindly to them. (Genesis 50:15-21 NLT)
What an amazing response! Joseph realized that the act of taking revenge belongs ONLY to GOD! See what he said? “Am I God, that I can punish you?” Have you ever heard the phrase “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, saith the Lord?”
As the title of this blog says, “Just Don’t Do It!”, please don’t take vengeance! The Apostle Paul had plenty of reasons to take vengeance for all the suffering he experienced in his ministry, but this is what he told the Roman church, “Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, ‘I will take revenge; I will pay them back,’ says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19)
You say, “Well, I don’t take revenge!” No? When you keep a record of wrongs, when you close up your heart of compassion, when you ignore, give a cold shoulder, stop communicating, keep an enemies list, spread rumors and carry hatred for another human being you ARE taking vengeance! The methods of vengeance coming from the fallen human heart are endless! You don’t do physical harm, but the emotional and spiritual harm done from one human being to another has no bounds!
But, but, but, you say they lied about me! They hurt me! They robbed me! They betrayed me! They… fill in the blank, and yes they did! But put yourself in Joseph’s place and read again what he said. “Am I God, that I can punish you?” That’s right, when we take vengeance we are playing God! HE is the Avenger and we, brace yourself, are to be….. THE FORGIVERS! “I can’t!” You say. I know you can’t. But GOD CAN THROUGH YOU!
As I’ve said before, when we practice vengeance, when we don’t forgive, it’s like drinking poison and expecting the object of our vengeance to die. But WE are the ones who die inside, think about that. Also, there is no one on earth who deserved to take vengeance more than our Lord Jesus Christ and from the cross, hanging there while being brutally crucified, He had the most amazing response, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” His teaching on forgiveness shows the conditions for our own forgiveness where in the book of Matthew he said, “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
So in closing my dear beloved friends please don’t carry this burden any longer! It is tearing you up inside. It is dividing you from loved ones. It is hindering God’s own work in your heart and life! You are a prisoner, trapped by unforgiveness, even to those who offendend you that are no longer on earth. The Apostle Paul said, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:31-32)
Just don’t do it! Don’t take revenge.
Will you pray this prayer with me? “Heavenly Father, thank you so much for Your great love for me by sending Your Son Jesus to die for my sins. Thank You for the forgiveness You provide when one accepts Him as Savior. Father, I want to be set free. I don’t want to carry these offenses any longer and so I lay them at the foot of the Cross. I give them to You! Set me free from all that binds and scars my heart. By faith today, I forgive everyone everything ever done to me. Wipe these things from my mind and heart. Set me truly free I pray in Jesus name. Amen!”
You may need to pray this prayer often but move forward claiming God’s results by faith and you WILL be set free!
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