We now finally come to a major section which has the deepest truth in the course. It’s called The Shocking Revelation About God’s Forgiveness. And it has two chapters: God Commits to Handle Vengeance; and How Can God Forgive Anyone for Everything?
This was fascinating for me. And I was shocked over and over again as I brought these themes from Genesis to Revelation all back together in one clump and said, “Here’s everything God has said about this topic -- everything. Therefore, I know everything God wants me to know about this. I have it right here”. Then I organized it for you so that you could understand it.
Whenever you try to help somebody forgive somebody else, and they say at the end, “I know I’m being tortured. I know that. And I know that God doesn’t forgive my sins until I do forgive, but I still am not going to forgive”.
Do you know there’s 80% of the people have the same reason why they won’t forgive? Do you know what it is? – that it’s more important to them not to forgive than it is to get out from underneath all of this torment. Do you know what is the root of it? What do they want? They want vengeance, “This person really wounded me and I am not going to forgive them until they suffer like I did”.
And I want to talk to you about this issue of vengeance. Is the desire that you have for vengeance right or wrong? Is it a sin or is not a sin? It’s not a sin? It’s an interesting question, isn’t it? I think you’re going to be stunned when you find out what the answer to that question is, and what to do with vengeance.
And I want to go back to those four men who raped the girl in the parking lot. Because you can imagine what she felt -- the humility, the violation, something so very precious as her virginity taken away, nobody in the area that saw what was going on stopped it, because they were too afraid. All those things called for justice. She wanted justice, and she deserved justice.
Well, how do you help that person go through that? Because unless she could let that go, she could not forgive. Well, this is what I talked to her about -- not as in depth as I did now. But I want to talk about vengeance and why we even have it.
And under your Part #1: The Comfort of Vengeance; that vengeance gives us comfort.
And you have a story in Genesis 27:41, about Esau and his brother, Jacob. 41 So Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing with which his father blessed him, and Esau said in his heart, “The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then I will kill, -- now that’s vengeance -- my brother Jacob.” 42 And the words of Esau her older son were told to Rebekah -- his mother -- So she sent and called Jacob her younger son, and said to him, “Surely your brother Esau, -- here it is -- comforts himself concerning you by intending to kill you.”
What does the desire and the hope for vengeance do to us? It gives us pleasure. The pain that we got from the other person; the thought of them suffering in return comforts us that, “Ah, yes, that’s what justice demands”.
So Point #1: Vengeance desires or inflicts harm upon the person who caused you Pain – who caused you pain.
Number 2: Vengeance begins in the wounded person due to feelings of Injustice. This was not right. I suffered wrongly and that person who did that needs to suffer the same way or more because of what they did.
Point #3: Vengeance remains in the heart due to the Slide of Unforgiveness.
Remember the seven stages of unforgiveness -- of anger, of bitterness, of slander, of resentment, of hatred, and vengeance? You can, however, instantly go to vengeance. You don’t have to go through that slide. If something really traumatic and wrong, terribly wrong, is done to you that brought great trauma to you, you could instantly go down it for the desire of vengeance. So it doesn’t have to go through the slide. But typically, over time, in most parts of life it does.
Number 4: Vengeance deepens over time and produces emotional Comfort – emotional comfort.
Now we’re going to jump right in in Part #2, with the big question: Is the Desire for Vengeance Sinful?
Number 1. Take a look at that passage in Revelation 6. Pay attention to where these people are, and what they’re saying, and what they’re saying from where they are.
When He opened the fifth seal, -- said the Apostle John -- I saw under the altar of God the souls who had been slain -- they’re dead. They’re dead. They had been slain. Why were they slain? -- for the word of God and the testimony which they held. -- That is, they didn’t deny Jesus Christ and the threat was, “If you don’t, we’re going to cut off your head” -- 10And they cried -- the people who were martyred -- they cried with a loud voice, saying,” How long, O Lord, -- So they’re talking to God -- holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”
Wait, is there sin in heaven? No. Whoa. You mean people in heaven who were murdered because they wouldn’t renounce Christ -- when they’re in heaven, they’re asking God to call our vengeance. Did you get that? Doesn’t that reposition how you think about vengeance? People in heaven; no sin; asking God, “They killed us. You know they killed us, and we want vengeance now. How long, O Lord, before You take out vengeance on them?” What does this do to your thinking? It shakes it somewhat, doesn’t it? It should.
Therefore, Point 1: The desire for vengeance exists in sinless heaven in martyred – martyred – Believers. Therefore, was that wish godly or ungodly? It was godly. Because no ungodliness is there.
Point #2. Take a look at 2 Thessalonians 1: 4 - “So that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God -- we boast about you to other churches because of -- your patience and faith in all your persecutions and all your tribulations that you endure, -- now look at these words -- since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, -- It’s a what thing? It’s a righteous thing with God to bring about tribulation on those people who persecute you for believing in Christ and doing right things. It’s a righteous thing for God to take out vengeance. Yes. -- since it’s a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled -- because of the tribulation and persecution -- rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven -- now look at this -- with His mighty angels, -- read the last part of the sentence out -- in flaming fire taking…
Is Jesus taking out vengeance? Is it a righteous thing? So your desire for vengeance may not be wrong at all. It may be, of all things, just like God. It’s a righteous thing for God to take out vengeance. Therefore, the desire for vengeance isn’t something you should be ashamed of. The lie is, ‘The desire for vengeance is a sin and I shouldn’t have that desire’. No. If you were treated unjustly and unfairly, you didn’t deserve it, and it was wrong, your desire for vengeance is just like God. Some of you are sitting there saying, “Come on, it’s not just like God”. I thought we just read it’s a righteous thing for God to take out vengeance for you. It’s a righteous thing.
So Point #2: God views His taking vengeance on those troubling you, as believers, as Righteous -- as righteous.
And for those of you who are still struggling, is it really like God to desire vengeance? Look at what the next passage says: 39”Now see that I, even I, am He, and there is no God besides Me; I – God -- kill and I – God -- make alive; I wound and I heal; nor is there any one stronger than Me who can deliver from My hand. 40 For I raise My hand to heaven, and say, ‘As I live forever, 41 if I whet My glittering sword, and My hand takes hold on judgment,-- read it out loud with me -- I will render vengeance to My enemies and repay those who hate Me’”.
It’s just a little bit too clear, isn’t it? So, did you change your mind feeling ashamed, feeling unsure of yourself, knowing that it isn’t fair and justice is needed? No, no, it’s a righteous thing for God to take up vengeance, ‘and I, God, will come down and I will take vengeance on those who hate me’.
Number 3: God Himself vows to take vengeance on those who are His Enemies – His enemies.
I was in Zambia -- one of my favorite countries -- and I had about 875 pastors and leaders together for 2 or 3 days when I was practicing and working on the new course, God’s Answer to AIDS. I had done this in Kenya with about 2,000 of the leaders, and met with the President of Kenya for a half a day. And then I was at Zambia; then I came here, and we videotaped it at MNet Studios. In the morning of the first day, when I was talking about AIDS and how traumatic it is and that it’s killing much of Africa, and some other countries in the world, at break time one of the pastor’s wives came up. And I was kind of standing behind the podium, and she came right close, and I stepped back a little bit, and she kept coming, and I kept backing up, until I literally ran against the wall and there was no place to go. And she said, “I must tell you…I must tell you what’s happened in our village. And I don’t know what to do about it”. I said, “Okay, what happened?” She said, “One of the men in the village sold his property. And he got some white envelopes -- and he had sex with every girl in our village -- and he gave to them, after he had sex with them, an envelope”. She starts to cry. And she says, “My daughter got one of these envelopes”. “What was in the envelope?” “The letter and money.” “Money?” “From the man.” “From the man of the village?” “Yes.” “What did the letter say?” “I have AIDS and I’m dying, and I’m not going down by myself. Your daughter is now dying. This is the money to bury her.”
Think about what you just heard. If you don’t desire vengeance from that, you are not a human being. God does give man a free will, does He not? One of the greatest gifts He ever gave, and one of the most terrible gifts He ever gave, is our choice to do wickedness and our choice to do godliness. But if you ever think for a minute almighty God; what He’s going to do that man who’s murdered those young girls, you cannot imagine what He’s going to do. But the desire for vengeance is godly. It’s not the desire; it’s how you deal with the desire.
Part #3: How to Deal with Your Desire for Vengeance
The best passage in all the Bible about this is Romans 12, and I want to read it, and then pull out 7 steps about what you should do to deal with your desire for vengeance. Let me read it to you. Follow it carefully.
Repay no one evil for evil. – no exceptions. Repay no one evil for evil. Instead, have regard for good things in the sight of all men. I need to explain that in a minute. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but give place to wrath; for its written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay”, says the Lord. Therefore,-- very strange verse that we take out of context and don’t understand what it really means – Therefore “ if your enemy is hungry, feed him; -- What? We’re talking about vengeance here. Why would I give my enemy food? And if your enemy is thirsty, give him drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” -- What is that? And then He ends that passage -- Do not be overcome by evil, but you overcome evil with good.
So, let’s go through this. Number one, Step 1: Choose to repay no one evil for Evil.
Point #2 is rather unclear. When you read the sentence underneath it, ‘Have regard for good things in the sight of all men’, what does that have to do with repay no one evil for evil? Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.
I took that same verse and put it beneath there in the Amplified Bible Version: 17Take thought for what is honest and proper and noble [aiming to be above reproach] in the sight of everyone.
So I had to do a lot of work to understand this verse. I didn’t understand it for a long time. What does it mean ‘to have regard’? That verb, ‘have regard’, means to plan ahead before something happens; to think through what you’re going to do if this happens. And it’s in a verb that isn’t the active verb, like ‘I do this’, and it isn’t a passive verb like ‘you do this to me’. Remember it’s like compassion -- if you fall down, then you affect in me a feeling of compassion towards you -- that’s passive -- because this happened, I received it. The active thing is what the text says -- you have compassion; that’s what I do.
There’s another one that isn’t used that often. It’s something you do to yourself. It isn’t something you do to somebody else -- that’s active. A little bit of grammar here. It isn’t something passive that somebody does to you. It’s something you do to yourself. I got up this morning and shaved myself. That’s called the middle. You do it to yourself. This verb is in the middle. It means this: You plan ahead yourself. To yourself, you start thinking about this.
Okay, what are you thinking about in the context of this verse, ‘repay no one evil for evil’? Start thinking about when evil happens to you, what are you going to do? It’s actually having a plan before somebody does something evil against you, what are you going to do when it happens to you? Not whether or not it’s going to happen to you; it’s going to happen to you. To think ahead of time -- when evil is done to you, how are you going to be…how are you going to choose to respond? Because if you wait and don’t have a plan to the very end, and something terrible happens to you by somebody else, do you know what you’ll probably do? You’ll probably explode emotionally and you’ll return evil for evil. So, God is saying, “No, no, don’t do that. You have to think about this ahead of time. Regard how you’re going to do this, that’s going to be good in the sight of everybody who sees you.” This is what it says, “For good things in the sight of all men” – that is, when people see you being terribly mistreated, and then you watch…they watch how you respond. And if you respond the way this text says, by not being overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good, every single person who sees you will say, “Oh, my goodness, look at that. That’s something like what Jesus would have done”.
So, do you have a plan -- what are you going to do when somebody traumatizes you in a wicked way and you’re innocent? He’s saying, “Have a plan”.
So Step 2 is Plan ahead to respond to those doing evil against you with Goodness – with goodness.
Now Step #3. Look at that verse: Beloved, do not avenge yourself. That’s just too clear, isn’t it?
Step 3: Never seek vengeance yourself against anyone, anytime, for Anything. Therefore, I want you to put a big box around yourself and say, “I will never ever take out vengeance myself; ever again. I won’t do it”. That’s a line which you cannot cross.
Now, Step #4, look at the verse: 19Beloved do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; -- give place to wrath, what’s that mean? -- for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine,” says the Lord. So who’s owning vengeance? The Lord.
So, number 4, Delegate your wrath to God…delegate your wrath to God who claims all vengeance is His – is His.
What do I mean by that -- give place to wrath? It’s saying to God, “I am filled with wrath about this, and I’m giving my wrath to You. You take out wrath for me”. You’re giving the place of wrath to God, who says, “I’m not doing you a favor here. I told you at the beginning, vengeance is Mine”. Listen carefully. You’re not asking God to do something He doesn’t want to do. You don’t have to come apologetic into the presence of God to ask for wrath or vengeance, because God is saying, “Vengeance is Mine”. You’re just saying, “I’m letting my wrath not be exercised by myself. I want You to exercise wrath on my behalf”. Give place to wrath because vengeance is God’s.
Step #5. This is the starred one I want you not to miss. Star this one. God says, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay”. This is the part that people don’t understand. We don’t really believe God will take out vengeance. How much vengeance? So much so that, if I saw what God did, I would say to God, “That’s enough. That’s enough. Wait, wait, that’s enough”.
So, believe God keeps His promises taking out vengeance for You.
In that same course on God’s Answer to AIDS, I did something very risky. I didn’t know if it would work or not, but I wanted to use it as a teaching moment. And the audience was set up like this on the slant, and there was a mixed audience and different races were there. And I wanted to make an extreme example; and I took a risk. And I picked out a very beautiful white lady with blonde hair. And I picked her out, and I brought her up here, and I said, “Let’s say, for instance, that she is running one morning through the park, and a man is hiding behind the bushes”. And I picked out another man that looked rough, big, and I pulled him down and said, “He’s right here. And he comes and he knocks her down, pulls her behind the tree, and molests her and rapes her. He hates whites because of what happened in the past. And she contracts AIDS, and she’s dying. And she says to God, “Take out vengeance for me”. And God says, “Okay. I want you to watch.” And then I said, “Let me be an angel, an angel of God’s wrath for a moment”. And I asked this man, who obviously was innocent and hadn’t done anything, to turn around, and I said, “If I was an angel,” and I picked up a whip -- big whip with barbs on the end and I started beating this man in the air as if I was, and I beat him harder and harder. I mean, I was really doing it in front of everyone. Obviously, I didn’t have a whip, but it certainly felt that way. And I kept watching the blonde lady, and she screamed, “It’s enough. It’s enough. Stop.” And I said, “Ah, that’s what vengeance is”. “I will pay…I will repay.” So, if you see it -- because some day you will see it -- you will say, “God was just”. Oh, wait, wait. God was just. He made it right. And until you believe He makes it right, you’ll never let vengeance leave your heart -- because you’ll think God won’t do it enough. The truth of it is, “I will repay, and I am just, and I know everything about what happened and why it happened, and when I exercise My justice on that man, you’re going to agree with me.” That’s why you can let it go.
Look at the next passage. This is what I showed that girl that was raped. 1 Thessalonians 4: 3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; -- this is about fornication and adultery, rape, all these things -- 4 that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel -- that’s your own body, your physical part -- in sanctification and honor, 5 not in passion of lust; like the people who do not know God -- now here is the part -- 6that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother -- I don’t mean a boy here or a relative; it’s another human being -- that no one should take advantage of and defraud a person with sexual immorality -- why not? -- because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified.
What is God saying? If you commit sexual immorality and overthrow and defraud another person, I Myself, God the Father, will come after you and I will avenge on you what you did to that person. And there’s no exception -- none.
There’s two of the sins that God has no tolerance for -- you now know what they are -- the sin of unforgiveness and the sin of taking advantage sexually over another person. God personally gets involved, ‘I deliver you to be tortured, and I Myself will avenge you on that person’. I said to that girl, “If you saw what God is going to do to those four men, you will say it’s enough”. God said ,”I will repay”.
Now, the next part of this passage is confusing until this moment. Look what the passage says in Verse #20: 20Therefore -- what do you mean therefore? Because of what I just told you…if you enemy is hungry, feed him; if he’s thirsty give him a drink, for in so doing, you will heap coals of fire on his head”.
What on earth is that all about? Okay, why don’t we forgive? We want vengeance. So what happens if we say, ”I’m giving place to my godly desire for vengeance…my godly desire…I want vengeance?” – and you give that wrath to God and God says, “Vengeance is Mine, and I will make it right”. And if you believe what He said, “I will take care of this to your satisfaction”, then do you still need to have vengeance? You don’t need to have vengeance anymore. Why not? It’s all right. That’s why you are free. You’re free to do what? Give your enemy food. Give your enemy drink. Why? Because your heart is already satisfied.
What does it mean to heap coals of fire on your head? Well, it’s the third part in a row. If he’s hungry, give him food. If he’s thirsty, give him drink. What does it mean pour -- I’ve heard some crazy things about this – pour coals of fire on your head? It’s what happened. A person both cooked and had light and heat from a fire inside their hut. And when, in those days, your fire went out, you had a pretty tough time starting a new fire. And the woman would take a bowl, a pottery bowl, and go to her next-door neighbor and say, “My fire is out. Can I have some coals?” She would dig in her coals, put it in the pot, the woman would put the pot on her head, come back to her house and start her fire. It’s just like giving them food. But do you see the depth of the truth here? When you believe, “I don’t have to worry about vengeance here; I hope for vengeance”, okay, that’s not wrong. Give it up to God, and God will take wrath on them for you. Therefore, believe He didn’t lie to you. And if you saw what He did, you’d say, “It’s enough. It’s enough. It’s enough”. Why harbor it anymore? Let it go.
So, how many of you need to let some vengeance things go? Let me see your hands. Lots of us; the majority. Will you therefore let God do what He promised He would do? Give it to Him, say, “God take out my wrath on them for me”. And then you’re free to be kind to them. Ah, isn’t this wonderful? I don’t know about you, but I like this. I do. It’s wonderful.
I have a whole lot of illustrations in the Bible that I read through. I studied this for a very long time; of every single time where God took out vengeance and what people did. And I was so impressed with God. He did it every time. And sometimes He went past the line I would have gone. He repaid a lot. And it released me – “Oh, You do keep your word. You will repay. Vengeance is Yours; it’s not mine. I can’t hold on to it. Give it to You”, and then I’m free to take care of you. No more anger; no more anything.
So, let’s take a look at that last point, Step 6: Because vengeance is exacted, release yourself to show Kindness.
And the last part of that -- I love this verse -- 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Those are commands in the language there, and it says, -- watch this -- one’s passive -- I hope you’re catching these things now -- one’s passive and one’s active. What’s the passive? Don’t allow the evil that happens to you to overcome you so much that you do evil back. That’s passive. It happened to you. Watch this. It happened to you. Don’t give it back.
[Step 7: Do not allow yourself to be overcome by evil—overcome with Good]
The second half of this…but you rise up – I love this -- you rise up and you overcome evil with goodness. You just defeat the evil with goodness, and you’re just like God then. So every time you do vengeance; you are overcome by your enemy; you lost. You let it happen. Why? You didn’t plan ahead.
When this happens to me, I’m not going to respond this way. I’m going to give my wrath to God. I’m going to claim the fact that You said, “Vengeance is Mine”, and I’m going to ask You to please take it out, and then I’m going to be kind to the person who did this to me and blow them away.
Part 4: How to Express to God Your Desire for Vengeance
What do you say to God when you want vengeance? I put two passages down here -- one by Jeremiah the prophet and one by King David.
So, Jeremiah 20:12. Jeremiah says this, “But, O Lord of hosts, You test the righteous, and see the mind and heart, let me see Your vengeance on them; for I have pleaded my cause before You. Do you know what Jeremiah wanted? He wanted to see the vengeance happen himself.
Now David, King David, had a friend that turned into an enemy named King Saul. And you remember King Saul tried to murder him and chased him all over the place for a long time. And David got more and more sick of it -- and rightfully so. And what he says in 1 Samuel 24 is remarkable. He’s now talking across the valley to King Saul. And he had stolen…he had snuck into his camp -- instead of killing King Saul, he cut a corner of his robe off to show that he had been there and hadn’t killed him.
Moreover, my father,-- talking to Saul-- see! Yes, see the corner of your robe in my hand! For in that I cut off the corner of your robe, and did not kill you, - -because I could have -- know and see that there is neither evil nor rebellion in my hand, and I have not sinned against you. Yet you hunt my life to take it. Now look at what he said – Let the Lord judge between me and you, and let the Lord avenge me on you. – oh, man, the whole army is hearing this -- But my hand shall not be against you. Therefore let the Lord be judge, and judge between you and me, and see and plead my case, and deliver me out of your hand.”
What’s David asking for? Vengeance. And do you know what he is saying? “I will not take out vengeance on you, Saul. Even though you repeatedly tried to seek to kill me, I will not do it.” This person, King David, is the best person I know in the Bible that had to repeatedly do the same thing of not taking out vengeance. He’s a model.
Now I want you to sit back for a minute, and I want you to open your heart to something that’s going to surprise you. You’ve been learning a lot today. And I’m going to switch the circle a little bit. Even though you know that vengeance isn’t wicked or evil, it’s godly, and even though you can ask God to take out vengeance, you have the freedom to do something surprising if you want.
Part #5: Consider Extending Mercy Instead of Vengeance
I have Jesus Christ, Stephen, the Apostle Paul, and Solomon. Wait until you see the Apostle Paul. It’s the most important verse of this session.
Jesus Christ said: And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and one on the left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do”.
What’s Jesus asking God to do? Forgive. And if He forgives, He’s also stopping the vengeance.
Okay, #2, Stephen: And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying,” Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, Lord, I -- excuse me -- Lord, do not charge them with this sin”.
What’s he saying? No vengeance. You see a human being has the freedom to negotiate with the judge; because you are the one who was wronged.
Now in the next passage with Paul -- look up here for a minute -- this next passage is a thought-provoking thought, that he wants vengeance on this person and asks God to do it, and he doesn’t want vengeance on this person and he asks God not to do it.
Look at this -- 2 Timothy 4: Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm. May the Lord repay him according to his works. -- What’s he asking for him? Vengeance -- You also –Timothy -- must beware of him, for he has greatly resisted our words. Second category -- At my first defense legally, no one stood with me, but all -- the people I led to the Lord -- forsook me. -- Boy, that’s betrayal, friends. That’s betrayal. -- May it not be charged against them.
Isn’t that something? Do you realize what you just learned? You have a choice. You have every right in the world to ask God to take out vengeance for you rightfully so, and He’s not upset or angry at all in the least. I want you to listen very carefully at this. And you also have the freedom to say to God, “I hereby officially request that you do not take out vengeance on my behalf with this person”.
I want to ask you the hard question. Which is the better of the two choices? It’s a hard question. Which is the better of the two choices? Answer: There is not a better choice. Because -- let me prove it to you -- the desire for vengeance is godly. It is righteous. It is not one shred less than righteous. You cannot think it’s less than saying, “Let him off the hook”. It’s not. It’s completely Godlike. It’s not more Godlike to say, “Don’t hold this against him”, because that implies this isn’t fully righteous. It is 100% righteous. This isn’t 10% righteous. It’s fully righteous.
What is it then? It’s up to you. Isn’t that nice? Some people, “I’ve asked God to take out vengeance”. Some people may have done something worse than that person but I understood more about what was going on and I said to God, “Please, I don’t want any vengeance. None. Zero.” And I believe God respects our requests. Therefore, you have choices. Wow! It’s good, isn’t it? It’s the secret to really forgiving the hard people. It’s powerful. Yes, it is.
Now Solomon gives a little clue for those people you want vengeance in #4. In Proverbs it says: Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, -- uh oh -- do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; -- It’s your enemy. Why not? -- lest the Lord see it, and it displease Him, and He turns away His wrath from him.
So be careful…be careful you don’t start dancing when you’re… He’s so smart, wasn’t He? That’s great.
The conclusion…the conclusion here. I just put it on this flipchart because it’s a key passage. Just sit back. You’ve done great in this session.
“For what credit is it if you, when you are beaten for your faults, -- something you did -- you take it patiently. -- What’s so good about that? You earned it -- But -- instead of that -- when you do good -- This is what happens. You do good. You did something good for God, and you suffer because of what you did -- if you take that patiently, this is commendable before God. For to this you were called, -- What? I was called? I was called to this? It’s okay if He calls you to this. No, no, no, isn’t this a shocker? You were called to this. You were called to do what? Suffer just like Jesus did. And you’re not going to be the first exception for this. No -- because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, -- Example about what? Of how to take suffering from doing good -- that you should follow His steps; -- Now here it is. Look at this.-- Who committed no sin, nor was deceit hidden way down deep in His heart or in His mouth, who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; -- Didn’t. No vengeance -- when He suffered, He did not threaten, but -- say it with me -- but committed Himself to Him who… That’s it.
So the next time you are suffering unjustly, realize it’s a gift from God – ‘For to this to you were called’. Wait, wait, wait, it’s a gift from God? Yes. It’s a chance for you to be more like God than probably anything that’s happened for years. Your greatest moment is in the greatest pit. This was Christ’s greatest moment. Oh, that changed vengeance and suffering around.
Take anybody that you’ve had vengeance, and let it go right now -- just let it go out of your heart. Come on, open it, and let it go -- and decide, “I want vengeance. I don’t want vengeance.” You free? Good.