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Avenge Not Yourselves

David Shin


Pastor David shares a sermon asking the question whether revenge is ever appropriate for the Christian.


David Shin

Dr. David Shin is the President of Ouachita Hills College.



  • August 5, 2017
    11:30 AM
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Father in heaven we praise you for being our God our Savior the author and the finisher of our faith we thank you that great is your faithfulness your blessings your mercies are new every morning and Father we pray that as we pause for a few moments of quiet reflection upon spiritual and heavenly themes that you would instruct us that you would inspire us and draw us closer to you in Jesus' name amen on the screen I have an infamous photograph that was taken in 1972 at the Munich games in Germany there was a terrorist group called Black September would duffel bags loaded with A K 47 that scaled the fences of the Olympic village there in Munich Germany. And they took hostages and made some demands to the German government all the hostages were athletes and they were Israeli they asked the German government for a plane and the German government said that they would provide the plane but at the airport there was a trap that was laid with snipers that were positioned around the plane and as history goes that operation went south very quickly and the terrorists recognizing that this was a trap executed all of the hostages it's probably one of the most tragic a limping games in history. Back in Israel Golda. Meir the prime minister of Israel met with her advisors and issued a public statement. What many people do not know. History has revealed it now but many people did not know at the time that she had put into motion an operation known as Operation wrath of God it was to avenge the murders of the Israeli athletes and she commissioned assassins from the elite force of the Mossad and over the period of the next several months and years for that matter across eastern and western Europe people were winding up dead I read one account where they planted explosives underneath the phone of a person that was associated with the massacre associated with the group Black September and they called that phone at a strategic time when the person picked it up and said hello it exploded that person was paralyzed ended up in the hospital and died a few months later finally the prime minister had to stop the operation when AIM waitress was killed and she was mistaken for someone else revenge some people say that revenge is sweet. I came across this book I wouldn't recommend you buy it on Amazon dot com I didn't buy it but I did read some of the caption and it's those 200 dirty tricks for those who are serious about getting even and there's something about society where you are almost given a pass for getting even. For settling the score when when someone hurts you you're almost entirely too old to hurt them back the bible actually talks about this notion of a non. I or a tooth for a tooth then we live in a culture and society where we feel that look some people deserve revenge and when someone hurts us we want them to feel the same pain that we have felt ourselves and it's many times the word justice is ascribed to this notion of revenge I went to college with a gentleman his name was male bone not kidding that was his name male bone together it was no space between them and it's interesting because his name a pit in my eyes his character he was masculine It was no question about that and expert in martial arts I remember those as burly big guy that challenge him one day he wasn't a big guy he was stocky and he had perfected this punch where he could one inch away it's called the one inch punch knock someone over and this burly guy came over challenge him from accounts eyewitness accounts this guy was flown back by his punch in the never bothered him again he tells his testimony about how he was growing up in his home his father would physically abuse his mother this went on for years. And he vowed that he would become an expert martial artist because his father was as well and his whole life goal was to get strong enough and quick enough to the place where he could kill his father that was his life mission and the Lord Jesus and is a bible instructor today. What does the Bible say about revenge what does the Bible say about how we as Christians are to respond when someone hurts us and I want to invite you to open your Bibles with me today to our scripture reading it's taken from Romans Chapter 12. Many people associate the book of Romans with justification in the Gospel but there's a whole other part to the Book of Romans as well after going through the beauty of beauty of justification in sanctification and what God does for us and the gift of eternal life Paul spends several verses in the book of Romans about practical godliness. And I heard this quotation from Mark Twain he said you know the issue I have with scripture is not the things that I do not understand it's with the things I do understand and find very difficult to practice love your neighbor very easy to understand difficult to practice love your enemies easy to understand difficult to practice and this. Passage in Romans Chapter 12 or 17 through 1000 is one of those challenging portions for Christians not to understand but to practice and here it is rip a No one evil for evil have regard for the good things in the sight of men if possible as much depends on you live peaceably with all men but do not of venge yourselves in other words do not have revenge but rather give place to wrath for it is written Vengeance is mine I will repay says the Lord verse 20 Therefore if your enemy is hungry feed him if he's thirsty give him a drink for in doing so you'll heap coals of fire on his head 21 Do not be overcome by evil but over a calm evil with good have you ever been hurt before I'm not just talking about her but deeply wounded emotionally physically and there is this sense of revenge wanting to get even Jesus talks about this he says here's another old saying that deserves a 2nd look I love this from Eugene Peterson's Message Bible. Tooth for tooth is that going to get us anywhere here is what I propose don't hit back at all. This is what the Bible is saying verse 44 invert of typographical error 45 but I say to you love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you that you may be sons of your father in having challenging statement from the words of Jesus and this is not what Jesus said this is what Jesus lived this is from desire of ages Jesus is not content for his rights often his work was made unnecessarily severe because he was willing and uncomplaining he did not retaliate when roughly used but bore insults patiently. He manifested a patience that nothing could disturb a truthfulness that would never sacrifice integrity while. These are the words of Jesus and I want to clarify from the beginning here I'm not talking about abuse if you're in an abusive relationship I'm not saying look just take it in living under those circumstances reported to the authorities and get help this is not what it's talking about this is talking about I believe in application those idiosyncrasies of people that many times just get on your nerves. Husbands wives parents children church members is not only talking about annoyances it's also talking about times that we've been deeply wounded and God is saying you know what there is an appropriate way that we should respond as Christians. There's a documentary that came out it's called Beyond the gates of splendor. And it is the story of 5 missionaries that went down to Ecuador to minister to a group of unreached natives and Jim Elliot was one of the missionaries and he made this statement before he went down there he said you know what we're going to have guns on us but he said look if the natives attack us we're not going to use our guns and he said you know why. Because we're ready to meet our maker and they aren't So they flew over the village who dropped gifts landed on this strip on the beach few days later their bodies were found floating in the river they had been speared to death by the native population suddenly all of the wives had become widows all of the children had lost their parents and what was their response I saw it with my own eyes the film that would roll. These women went back into those villages. And ministered to those individuals and I saw with my own eyes the son of a little bit Elliott would lost his father arm and arm with the very man that killed his. Wife. And that village was. One for Christ as a result I mean this is a supernatural phenomena and what it really illustrates is that when someone. Hurts us when someone wounds us when someone does something that gets under our skin it provides an opportunity for the grace of God to shine through us and for people to be reached what a witness Elizabeth Aliant is now a champion and has written many books of encouragement to uplift individuals in Romans Chapter 1220 Therefore if your enemies hungry feed him if he's thirsty give him a drink and Romans 1221 Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good ministry of healing very quickly for 70 the strongest argument in favor of the gospel is a loving and lovable Christian I used to think that it was proof sin ideas and propositions and philosophies and all of these things but it is the loving and lovable Christian ministry of yelling for 94 the consistent life the patient forbearance the spirit unruffled under provocation is always the most conclusive argument and the most solemn appeal now most of us. I hope and I pray will not go through the experience that Elizabeth Elliott did in losing a loved one to martyrdom but all of us go through circumstances and situations where we are crossed and most of the time it has to do with what someone says to us Have you ever been told something that is so infuriating that you just like. Just about to come out here and you're like if I just say these words it will feel so good I've done it before I say these words and as I am uttering them I'm like NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO but they've already fallen. And it's an explosion that heightens the circumstance I remember one nominating committee I had not here many years ago in an undisclosed location I did something in this nominating committee that was a matter of conscience I had to state the facts there was one particular gentleman I could tell it was fire coming out of his eyes and he approached me after the nominating committee and he just. You fill in the blanks just laid into me and I just stood there stunned and by the grace of God I didn't say anything you know sometimes silence is the best thing that you can do and there's something about that when they utter words and you stay silent there's this kind of an echo chamber that takes place and Holy Spirit worked on this man's heart Sabbath came around he found me and he said look I'm really sorry for that but what if I had responded in kind this is a powerful quote from ministry of healing if impatient words are spoken to you by the way if there's a few chapters in ministry of healing that you can look up on your phone it's called Help in daily living I want to encourage you to read this it's talking about in contact with other words if in patient words are spoken to you never reply in the same spirit remember that he's soft and search away wrath and there is a wonderful power in what. In silence words spoken in replying to one who is in Greece sometimes serve only to exasperate but anger met with silence in a tender forbearing spirit quickly die away and we experience this all the time the the tendency is when someone speaks to was harsh words unkind words disrespectful words we want to be witty We want to come back with the same intensity the same veracity the same vision snus that they have given to us and we feel entitle to do this but the Bible is saying look when someone spews venom at you don't respond the same way because in actuality you're robbing God an opportunity to reveal Himself to them. Or that's what's really taking place the here I sold books for years door to door all over the country Tennessee Arkansas lth Florida West Virginia known up for it West Virginia Virginia New Jersey Maine New Hampshire California you get the picture for years knocked on a lot of doors met a lot of nice people and met a lot of not so nice people too I'm a brown was up in Michigan I feared for my life dropped off in this little town where I was a minority you know what I'm talking about they had not seen a Korean before evidently dropped off there and I'm calling the van to come get me I'm saying come on you gotta come get me I mean there's some danger about to go on these young big individuals or saying that they were going to do certain things to me. A member in New Jersey I was walking down the street looked up and there were these round things these projectiles that were coming down from the heavens splattering on the ground there were eggs and I remember running from door to door dodging eggs and these young teenagers were hurling insults at me and they said come to my house and I'll punch you in the mouth and I was like please tell me your address and I won't come. I remember distinctly I think I told this a number of weeks ago or months ago I'm not sure. Sleep deprivation. I was in Arkansas it was a long driveway I walked up to this door knocked on it and this man came out in a rage and fury kicked open that door all I need hurled all types of insults at me scream he said yes. And I just stood there and I was so stunned and by the grace of God I did not respond in kind I just stayed silent and I remember him just hearing the venom that was coming out of his mouth and you know what I did as silent and I turned and I walked I'm going to be honest there we slowly. Out of his driveway because I knew he was watching me at the front walked out of his driveway had a long long as walking slowly out as long as I knew that man was watching me in the Holy Spirit was working on his heart and about halfway through the middle of the front of his lawn he came out he said hey man. I said yes he said I'm sorry man I'm sorry please come back here. Like whoa come back he said come on in you want some juice some milk some cookies whatever what do you got what he got what he got he looked at my books bought my pulled. Had prayer with them and I walked out of the room I said Oh what has just happened I mean what if I had said what kind of person are you you don't even know what I'm doing you know just just given it to him it would really rob the not pretty but have you ever been in a situation where you've been on the other end where you have just let someone have it. And what happens you let someone have it and you get the upper hand and you walk away thinking that it will feel good thinking that you'll feel satisfied but it never does there's a hollow there's an emptiness inside and I remember the testimony of one of the Mossad agents that it killed people all over Western Europe in response to the terrorist attacks of of Black September he goes back to Israel recognizing that he has been responsible for the revenge of an entire nation hoping to be satisfied and all he was left with was emptiness you know even if we don't respond in kind there is a temptation to go to someone else and talk about our grievances with that person I mean that's the admin is lay isn't it ah come on now let's be real I know you may not say it to the person's face but as soon as that person is not around and we get to lunch after church in someone's home and we roast that individual we have them for dessert. There in the main course we talk about that person and and all of their faults and therefore bulls and all the things that end the grievances that we have with them and we feel justified because that person has wronged us and it's not a frontal attack I would argue that it's even worse and here it is Mr appealing for $92.00 and I read this. As a reminder regularly cultivate the habit of speaking well of others dwell upon the good qualities of those with whom you associate and see as little as possible of their errors and failings when tempted to complain of what someone has said or done praise something in that person's life or character cultivate thankfulness praise gone for his wonderful love in giving Christ to die for us in never pays to think of our grievances God calls upon us to think of His mercy and his matchless love that we may be inspired with praise one person told me that when she walks into a group that is just tearing apart the character of a person that is not present she says you know what I can just sense that you're very concerned about this individual Let's pray for them so she has a word of prayer for them and suddenly no one has anything more to say. And they just slink away want to read on for ministry of healing earnest workers have no time for dwelling upon the faults of others we cannot afford to live on the House of other's faults or feelings evil speaking is a twofold curse falling more heavily upon the speaker than upon the here he who scattered the seeds of this sentient and strife reaps in his own soul the deadly fruits the very act of looking for evil in others develops evil in those who look by dwelling upon the faults of others we are Jane just into the same image this is the irony when you talk about the faults of someone else how someone has hurt and you are so disgusted with them in this person's character the irony is that we are becoming like that person by talking about that individual She goes on instead of criticizing and condemning others say I must work out my own salvation if I cooperate with him who does desires to save my soul I must watch myself diligently I must put away every evil from my life I must be overcome I must overcome every fault I must become a new creature in Christ then instead of weakening those who are striving against evil I can strengthen them by encouraging words let us remember that we are only seeing a thin slice of that individual there's a whole other world that you do not recognize. I remember there was this one individual that was belligerent. Seem to be upset and angry every single day would hurt people around them constantly. And was very easy to judge him I know I did what's wrong with him anyway what's his problem I would talk about him later on I found out just a few months before his mother had almost committed suicide. He didn't know how to handle suddenly that piece of information somehow change the context how do we do this how do we get to the place where we respond the way that Jesus responded I would say it's impossible. There's no amount of self-discipline effort in human strength that can accomplish this when someone hurts us deeply it is the natural human response to seek revenge and I believe that this is the foundation this is the ground through which the character of Christ can flow through us steps of Christ paid 70 consecrate yourself to God in the morning make this your very 1st work let your prayer be take me oh Lord as holy dine that's day by day you may be giving your life into the hands of God and thus your life will be molded more and more after the life of Christ really comes down to this notion of saying Lord I'm a vengeful person help me do for me what is impossible and this quotation. I believe is true for every individual that says Lord my day is yours I want you to work through me this is a beautiful reality and I claim this promise his angels are appointed to watch over us and if we put ourselves under their guardianship then in every time of danger they will be at our right hand I need it when unconsciously we are in danger of exerting a wrong influence the angels will be by our side prompting us to a better course choosing words for us how many of you need that I imagine this we said Lord I'm yours today and he says OK you angels there angels walking by me I'm going to my day knees I know David's about the mess this thing up he's going to say something and as I am about to as the angels are at every range this rearrange this the tone the vocabulary choosing our words for us in our marriages in our parenting in our workplace we need divine help this is what is talking about this is supernatural angels attending us when we are unconsciously when unconsciously we are in danger if we exerting it wrong influence the angels will be by our side prompting us to a better course choosing words for us and influencing our action of us our influence may be silent unconscious but mighty power in drawing others to Christ and the heavenly. Amen this is what we need him in. By the grace of God It's not because we're good it's because he is good and when we consent he says look I'm going to give you all the help that you need to exert a spiritual influence how many of you want this today women claim a man let's pray let's pray. Father in Heaven the challenge is not knowing about Christianity for us it is being a Christian and Lord we just ask that when we're hurt when we're disrespected when things are said to us that are unkind that you would give us divine assistance the Lord choose our words for us may your life be represented in us not because of who we are but because of who you are and Lord every day I pray that all of us would pray a prayer of consecration and surrender saying Lord May you be seen. In me today. Bless us to that end by your grace for me as he sings in Jesus' name. In. This media was brought to you by audio verse a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse if you would like to listen to more sermons lead to visit W W W audio verse or.


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