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  • Writer's pictureJan Weihl

Vengeance is Mine (Romans 12)

Believe it or not, one of the things I am most grateful for is that God blessed me with a slow tongue. In other words, when someone is ugly with me, it's days before I think of a real good comeback. One that would hurt them just as much as their words hurt me.

I thank God, that most of the time, when I do think of that real good comeback, that person is no longer anywhere around me and I don't have to worry about saying something hurtful, something that I would forever regret. The few times I have voiced a good comeback in the heat of the moment, I have forever regretted it and tried to apologize. But unfortunately, words cannot be taken back. So, responding with those great comebacks, are not at all "making every effort to be at peace," as God's Word says:

Romans 12:18-19 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. [19] 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.

Ironically, the tail end of this passage is the first verse I ever learned as a young child. Although the version I heard was:

"Now, Now, Isobel, 'Vengeance is Mine, saith the Lord.'"

This was one of my grandma's little sayings she would repeat to my mom often when she would get angry with someone. It was years later before I realized Grandma's little sayings were actually Bible verses.

Unlike me, my mom had an incredibly gifted mind with a photographic memory and a very sharp tongue. But unfortunately for her she immediately thought of those quick comebacks in the heat of the moment, when someone was being ugly with her. And unfortunately I witnessed the resulting conflict and strife a sharp tongue can cause when it is unleashed rather than held back with a goal of keeping the peace and honoring God.

However, in our world today, we have an even greater challenge. We now have a high percentage of communication via text and online chat rather than face to face or even on the phone. Our ability to communicate and practice "being at peace" with others, has degraded to alarming rates. We have done away with front porches and the value of just spending time talking to people. When we do see people out together, each of them is normally on their phones.

So how do we obey God in a world that no longer values relationships and in-person communication?

First, we have to truly understand that it is our job to keep the peace and God's job to exercise vengeance. Somehow we seem to have gotten that backwards.

Second, we have to practice pausing and praying before we speak. Pray that God will control our tongue. Pray for the person that we are speaking with; that God would bless them and that whatever we communicate comes out in genuine love for them, regardless of what has been said to us first.

If we all did that, do you think it would make a difference? I think it would.

Lord, Please control my tongue and quiet my spirit so that in every conversation, I am glorifying You and shining your Light rather than being a beacon of darkness, spewing words like daggers that pierce deep within the soul, leaving terrible wounds and sorrow. Lord, let my words lift people up, not tear them down. Lord, let me remember that it is your Holy Spirit that corrects and convicts people, not me. So far as it depends on me, Lord, strengthen me to be a vessel of peace, love, and hope. In Jesus' name, amen.

Jan Weihl

Living Word Ministries

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