Sunday School Lesson 47
MEMORY VERSE: “Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.” – Leviticus 19:18
BIBLE PASSAGE: Romans 12:17-21
INTRODUCTION: Retaliation is a violent response to an act of harm or perceived injustice. To retaliate is to do something harmful or negative, to get revenge for some harm; to fight back or respond in kind to an injury or affront. Both the Hebrew and Greek words translated “vengeance”, revenge, and avenge” have the idea of punishment in their root meaning. The question of non-retaliation or non-violence is often discussed in relation to Matthew 5:38-44.
- What Does The Bible Say About Retaliation?
- The Proper Christian Action
1. WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT REVENGE?
The Bible has much to say about revenge (retaliation, avenge or vengeance) that contradicts everything that feels right to many people (Isaiah 55:9). For instance, in Romans 12:19, believers are not expected to pay back any evil done against them. Proverbs 25:21-22 and Romans 12:20 admonish us not to stoop low to the level of the offender. Believers should learn not to join their offenders in their errors (Romans 12:21; Matthew 5:39). Hebrews 10:30 also teaches us not to take matters out of God’s hands and insist on fixing things ourselves.
2. THE PROPER CHRISTIAN ACTION
Matthew 5:38-44 serve to drive home the point that a Christian, rather than avenging himself upon a brother who has done him a personal wrong should love his enemies, bless those that curse him, do good to those that hate him, and pray for those who despitefully use and persecute him. Self-vengeance has no place in the Christian life; we should allow God to bring His vengeance on our enemies rather than taking vengeance ourselves (Romans 12:19).
As believers, we must resist the impulse to retaliate but rather live at peace with all men as much as possible (Romans 12:18). Our job as Christians is to forgive, not retaliate (Luke 6:27-31). when we follow God’s commands to love, forgive, and do well to those who wrong us (Matthew 5:44), we can trust that our Defender will do what is right (Psalm 20:1; Zechariah 12:8). We can also set healthy boundaries in destructive relationships (2 Corinthians 6:17; Proverbs 22:24; Ezra 10:11) and make our ways pleasing unto God (Proverbs 16:7).
CONCLUSION: The scripture enjoins us to live peaceably with all men as much as possible. Romans 12:18.