Sermon by Pr Paddick Van Zyl (MTh)
14 Nov 2014
Ray Stedman recalls seeing the following where he grew up. 'When I was in school in Montana, I used to watch the cows in the corral. They would be standing there peacefully, and then one cow would kick another cow. Of course, that cow had to kick back. Then the first cow kicked harder and missed the second cow and hit a third. That cow kicked back. I watched that happen many times. One single cow, starting to kick another, soon had the whole corral kicking and milling and mooing at one another, mad as could be. This happens in congregations too.'#
How do we as christians deal with anger in life?
Do we take revenge on thise who hurt and slander us or not?
From our text is is quite clear that we are not to take revenge ourselves. That is God's department (v19). What we should do is very clearly shown in verses 14, 17, 20. Now verse 20 of Romans 12 is very difficult only if you are not in a right relationship with the Lord and you are not filled with the Word.
Verse 20 is pharapharsed from Proverbs 25:21-22
20-21 Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he’s thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness.
21-22 If your enemy is hungry, give him food! If he is thirsty, give him something to drink! This will make him feel ashamed of himself, and God will reward you.
The New King James reads:
22 For so you will heap coals of fire on his head,
And the Lord will reward you.
We should not take revenge or vengeance ourselves when angry or confronted with an injustice agains us or another person but should give it over to God for Him to deal with the guilty and the perpetrators and so give place to wrath. Often we forget that God sees everything, knows everything and He will execute judgement wheter it be here and now (htrough the channels of the law and civil governemtn) or at His throne in Heaven. Karma is not the judge. God is. Payback is simply a boomerang on our own selves~ it comes back just like a boomerang does, suddenly!
I can almost hear you say, "What do you expect me to do? What if somebody hits me -- do I sit there and do nothing? Oh, no. There is something you can do look again at 22
The concept or symbolism of 'heapoing coals of fire on the head' of the one desearving payback for his deeds, speaks of the shame and humiliation experienced by this person when he gets given what he dod not expect or deserve - kindness and love.
'This (verse 22 of Prov.25) refers to the ancient way of lighting fires. They didn't have matches in those days, so if you wanted to light a fire in your home, you couldn't go and borrow a match. But you could go and borrow some coals from your neighbor. Of course, you took along an earthen jar that would not burn. Then you would ask your neighbor if you could borrow some coals to light your own fire. Now, if he was a good neighbor, he would fill the jar and you would carry the padded jar home on top of your head. This became a picture of an ample, generous response to a neighbor's need. Because of that, it became a metaphor for responding so generously to your neighbor that it made him ashamed of himself for his attitude toward you. That is what Paul is suggesting here.'#
If you ever had a burning ember or coal against your flesh, you can identify the effect this has. It causes you to pay attention!
Ray Stedman tells the following story to explain 'silent revenge':
'I remember hearing of some officers during the Korean War who rented a house for themselves and hired a Korean houseboy to work for them. He was a cheerful, happy soul, and they were young and had a lot of fun playing tricks on him. They would nail his shoes to the floor, and they would put water up over the door so that when he pushed it open the bucket would fall on him. They played all kinds of tricks, but he always took them in such a beautiful, good humor that they finally became ashamed for themselves. They called him in one day and said, "We've been doing all these mean things to you and you have taken it so beautifully. We just want to apologize to you and tell you that we are never going to do those things again." He said, "You mean no more nail shoes to floor?" They said, "No more." He said, "You mean no more water on door?" They said, "No more." "Okay then," he said, "no more spit in soup!"
So you see, it is possible to take silent revenge. But the Word of God warns us against doing it. Don't be sneaky and underhanded about your actions, it says, but "be careful to do what is right in the sight of everybody."#
Are we allowed to get angry? The answer is yes, since anger is an emotion and normally a trigger to an underlying emotion or problem but and this is a big emphatical but the Word of God through the hand of Paul the Apostle warns in Ephesians 4:26-27:
26 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. NIV
26 And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 for anger gives a foothold to the devil. NLT
Anger can lead to sin and open a can of worms that one never expected or planned to have open up. We are to be Spirit led and Spirit controlled.
Retaliation is a natural human response and normally the first resppnse we show when hurt, offended or treated wrongly. I like how Ray Stedman explains it:
'We always feel that, if we treat others according to the way they have treated us, we are only giving them justice. We can justify this so easily. "I'm only teaching them a lesson. I'm only showing them how I feel. I'm only giving back what they've given me." But any time you argue that way you have forgotten the many times you have injured others without getting caught yourself. But God hasn't forgotten. This always puts us in the place of those Pharisees who, when the woman was taken in adultery, were ready to cast stones and stone her to death. Jesus came by and said to them, "He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone," (John 8:7). That stopped them all dead in their tracks, because there wasn't a one of them who wasn't equally as guilty as she. They needed to be judged too. We must never carry out revenge, because we are not in the position of a judge. We, too, are guilty. We need to be judged. Therefore, Paul's admonition is, "Don't try to avenge yourself." You will only make a mess of it. The inevitable result of trying to get even with people is that you escalate the conflict.'#
Ray Stedman recalls:
'I was reading one day a story about a boy who was in the army. He was a Christian and had formed the habit of praying beside his bed before he went to sleep. He kept up this practice in the army, but he became an object of mockery and ridicule to the entire barracks. One night he knelt to pray after a long, weary march. As he was praying, one of his tormentors took off his muddy boots and threw them at the boy, one at a time, hitting him on each side of his head. The Christian said nothing about it, and just took the boots and put them beside the bed and continued to pray. But the next morning, when the other man woke up, he found his boots sitting beside his bed, all shined and polished. It so broke his heart that he came to that boy and asked him for forgiveness. That led, after a time, to that man becoming a Christian.
This is what Paul means when he says you overcome evil with good. As Abraham Lincoln once said, "The best way to overcome an enemy is to make him your friend."#
19 Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. 20 Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.
So what will I get from refusing to take vengence:?
•Firstly- I will be enabled, by the Holy Spirit, to act positively instead of negatively.
•Secondly- I will by the enabling power of the Holy Spirit, win the battle. In a conflict going, I will win if I respond with doing good instead of evil.
And this brings glory to God!
8 In every place of worship, I want men to pray with holy hands lifted up to God, free from anger and controversy.
In closing -
'Paul gives two reasons why you should not avenge yourself: One is because God is already doing it. "Leave room for God's wrath." God knows you have been insulted or hurt or injured. He knows it and he is already doing something about it. Second, God alone claims the right to vengeance because he alone can work it without injury to all concerned. He will do it in a way that will be redemptive. He won't injure the other person, but will bring him out of it. We never give God a chance; we take the matter into our own hands. And Paul says that is wrong. It is wrong because we don't want that person to be redeemed; we want them to be hurt. We are like Jonah when Ninevah repented. When God spared it, Jonah got mad at God. "Why didn't you wipe them out like you said you would?" We get angry because God hasn't taken vengeance in the way that we would like. Paul reminds us that God is already avenging, so we should leave him room, and God claims the right to vengeance because he alone can work it without injury to all concerned.'#
Our responsibility is to show love for love covers a mutlitutde of sins.....
If you have any anger or unforgiveness in your life today, I invite you to come forward for prayer and make things right....don"t wait!
#Ray C. Stedman http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rsc/view.cgi?bk=44&ch=12