Rom 12:17  “Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”

To the natural man, getting even is a reasonable goal. If someone makes us look (or feel) foolish, we seek the first opportunity to repay in kind. When we are hurt physically or emotionally, we begin to plot how we can do the same in return. Usually, the only thing we accomplish is an escalating conflict until someone is too hurt to continue.

The scripture says we are to never pay back a worthless (see Strong’s definition of evil) act with another worthless act. There are all kinds of reasons why we might be taught this, including being encouraged to not stoop to someone else’s low level. However, the only reason we really need is because the word of God says we should not do it. Even if the other party might “deserve” it in the eyes of those around us, we are not to repay anyone in such a fashion.

Instead, Paul counsels us to provide things honest in the sight of all men. The word translated as provide does not simply mean to make available. It carries with it the idea of planning ahead or making advance preparation. Just as the word evil here carries the idea of worthless, the word honest means something beautiful or valuable.

We know that there are going to be people who do worthless things (evil). The teaching here is for us to prepare in advance to have something beautiful and valuable to give. This might sound like a difficult thing to do, but the answer is really quite simple. We should always be prepared to treat others as Jesus has treated us.

Paul recognizes that we are sometimes weak. However, we are not leaning on our own strength. We should do everything in our power to live at peace with every human being we come into contact with. This is not telling us we are to approve of the actions of everyone, but to look to a higher source for the needed solution.

This admonishment is written to we who are well loved. That understanding alone should be enough to give us pause. Vengeance is not our job. We are called on to take time to consider what we are about.

When we do this, we are better able to prepare in advance our response. It gives us time to consider the word of God. We can have time to remember that we do not own vengeance. It is not wise for us to take something that God clearly says is His.

We also have time to consider the promise of God. He tells us that retribution belongs to Him, and He will repay. God knows much better than we the right retribution. He may remove the source of the evil, or He may change the evil heart.

May we provide beautiful, valuable things before God and trust Him to meet out His vengeance as seems good to Him!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.