Friday, February 16, 2018

“The Path of Pardon”

"The Path of Pardon"

     The Apostle Paul commanded that we "avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath" (Romans 12:19).  What is the "place" for wrath?  Paul continues, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, saith the Lord."  

    The human heart and psyche does not do well when entertaining notions of revenge.  The intruder often seems like the most appropriate guest, but he leaves the stain of bitterness if allowed to enter and remain within our thoughts and emotions.  This poisons even as it may seem pleasant, harming not only ourselves, but also others with whom we live our lives.  "Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God, lest any root of bitterness trouble you, and thereby many be defiled" (Hebrews 12:15).  Only God can execute appropriate consequences for wrongs committed against us.  Our calling involves the high standard of Christ's character and command:

    "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you… But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you" (Ephesians 5:32; Matthew 5:44).  

    Thankfully, the Spirit of Christ indwells believers to enable our walk in grace and mercy rather than vengeance and bitterness.  "The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us" (Romans 5:5).  The path of pardon is not easy.  Again, revenge, in whatever form, rests comfortably in our flesh until it results in troublesome consequences.  However, it never helps our hearts or the other hearts in our sphere of influence.  Our Lord therefore calls us to obey Him by directing the execution of consequences to Him, and to trust Him for the enabling to be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving to those who wrong us.  We are to love, bless, do good, and pray rather than seek and act out vengeance.  Such a path of pardon honors our Lord, blesses others by revealing the Lord Jesus, and maintains the peace of mind that realizes our hearts are no place for vengeful wrath.

"Recompense to no man evil for evil."
(Romans 12:17)

Weekly Memory Verse
   Rejoice the soul of Thy servant: for unto Thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
(Psalm 86:4)    

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