It is a common phenomenon to expect bad things to happen to our enemies. We expect evil people to pass away from the world, we want good citizen; good governance. We are unable to tolerate people who back stab us. When we treat some kith as kin and in turn that kith proves to be a foe, we lose our trust on everyone, we feel rejected. David was lamenting over a situation like this.
“For it is not an enemy who taunts me then I could bear it; it is not an adversary who deals insolently with me then I could hide from him. But it is you, a man, my equal, my companion, my familiar friend. We used to take sweet counsel together; within God’s house we walked in the throng. Let death steal over them; let them go down to Sheol alive; for evil is in their dwelling place and in their heart.” Psalm 55:12-15
Situation like this will pave way for utter destruction of our own mind, soul and body. Our body is the temple of God and thus it is a destruction of His temple. This is not going to cause any damage to the offender, rather, he will be happy that he has ruined His temple. In fact, it is not the enemy ruining us but our mind working against us to ruin us. If our mind is strong amidst adversaries no one could make us sad.
Vengeance: Leave it to God
In order to divert our mind from this situation, God tells us to leave it to Him and relax, but we wait anxiously for the wrath of God to come upon them.
“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.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:19-21
“Vengeance is mine, and recompense, for the time when their foot shall slip; for the day of their calamity is at hand, and their doom comes swiftly. For the Lord will vindicate his people and have compassion on his servants, when he sees that their power is gone and there is none remaining, bond or free.” Deuteronomy 32:35-36
Vengeance: Imbibed in our Traits
Paul probably reiterates what God told in Deuteronomy. Both these Bible portions depict God as revengeful and jealous. The attitude of vengeance dominates in these verses. Whether it is God or man, vengeance is shown here as a matter that one should deal with. Moreover, Paul instructs us to do good to our enemy in order to heap burning coals in his head. Though this concept is taken from the Old Testament (Proverbs 25:21&22) it reflects the fact that there is no change in the human attitude.
Even today, if someone whom we do not like suffers, or a group of people who are against Jesus get destroyed in a natural calamity, we say that God’s wrath has come upon them. Knowingly or unknowingly vengeance is imbibed in us. We wait for a chance to take revenge and forget that God had sent His son to save the sinners.
Punishment on others: “A Warning to Repent”
Incidents in others life are just a lesson for us to edify ourselves. Jesus Himself told this to us but somehow we do not recollect these things when something bad happens to our enemies.
“There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish”. Luke 13: 1-5
Vengeance is Done Away With
God sent His son Jesus Christ to save every one. John 3:16 tells us this truth and Romans 10:13 guides us to avail it. God does not want anyone to perish. If we keep this in mind it will be easy for us to adhere the following command of Jesus:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Mathew 5:43-48
Jesus demonstrated this in the Garden of Gethsemane and again on a larger level at the cross. The best way to make our conscience clear is to pray for our enemies. “Lord forgive them for they do not know what they are doing”. Jesus said this prayer for sinners, filled with Divinely Love. Even today He is advocating on behalf of us sinners, by sitting at the right hand of God. Extending kind deeds to our enemies directly or indirectly will add real meaning to our lives. May God empower us with the spirit of prayer that we bless our enemies.