Monday, March 22, 2021

The Lord Is the Avenger of Those Who Are Mistreated

One of the things that people today (including professing Christians) seem to greatly underestimate is how seriously God regards it when someone deliberately mistreats another person.

In fact, God says in Scripture that he himself will act as Judge and Avenger for the person who is mistreated and abused (and that includes emotional abuse as well as physical, and other ways of harming someone else too).

Here are just a few Scripture passages that point to this reality:

The apostle Paul wrote, “Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm. The Lord WILL REPAY HIM for what he has done.” – 2 Tim. 4:14 (NIV)

And addressing another kind of wrongdoing Paul says, “Never harm or cheat a fellow believer by violating his wife, for THE LORD AVENGES all such sins, as we have solemnly warned you before.” – 1 Thess. 4:6 (NLT)

In the Book of Exodus we read, “Whoever treats his father or his mother disgracefully must surely be put to death.” – Ex. 21:17 (NET)  

Even though that Old Testament command of the death penalty isn’t to be carried out in the New Covenant situation, this verse still shows how seriously sinful God considers it to be when a person violates the Fifth Commandment to HONOR one’s father and mother.

And Paul writes to the Romans,  ‘If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.’  But what if some people make it impossible to be at peace with them, what then?   Paul continues,  “Do not take revenge, my dear friends,” but that is NOT the end of the matter, as if the abusive person is going to ultimately get away with it, for what Paul writes next is extremely sobering:   “…but LEAVE ROOM FOR GOD’S WRATH, for it is written: ‘IT IS MINE TO AVENGE, I WILL REPAY’ says the Lord.” – Romans 12:18-19 (NIV)

We’re not able to really say whether the Lord’s judgment and punishments in a given situation will happen in this life or in the final judgment with its eternal consequences.  Sometimes it will be both. 

But if, in God’s providence, you are reading this post, with these divine warnings, I urge you to take them very seriously, and if they apply to you today to repent and seek forgiveness and to make things right (right with God, but also with the person you have been mistreating and sinning against), realizing that God will not be mocked, but will ensure that we reap what we sow.  

It may well be that for some reading this, the hardships and troubles you are experiencing in your life even now are part of God’s judgment already – but in this life there is still opportunity to repent, to act to make things right, and to find a gracious forgiveness.

But at some point it all becomes too late (sometimes because a person hardens their heart for so long there’s no turning back)– that’s why now is the time, and today is the day, to put things right, remembering too the Scripture that says, ‘We know the one who said, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.”  It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.’ (Heb. 10:30-31)