It is only by being completely committed to God that we can suffer patiently, not retaliating or defending ourselves.
I Peter 2:19-23 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:
Jesus didn’t answer when falsely accused (Matthew 27:13-14). It’s hard to keep our mouth shut and not say anything if we’re accused or wronged. We need to ask the Holy Spirit to help so we follow the example Jesus left. There was no guile (trick, deceit, dishonesty, fraud) in what Jesus said. He didn’t trick people to think something that wasn’t true. Jesus could act that way because he committed himself to God. We have to commit ourselves – put everything on the altar: husband or wife, children, and everything we have. Vengeance isn’t for us or getting even for being wronged. We have to forgive.
Stephen didn’t defend, revenge himself, or find fault but had control by the Holy Spirit. It was because he was committed 100% to the will of God. He knew God was with him to help him and saw Jesus at the right hand of God in heaven.
Acts 7:51-60 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye…they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: Who have received the law by…angels, and have not kept it. When they heard…were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God…And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
When we commit wrongs to God, he gets the glory and not us. James and John were offended and had a spirit of retaliation. Jesus didn’t cast them out of the kingdom but he corrected them, saying he came to save people.
Luke 9:51-56 And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he…sent messengers…and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw…said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? But he…rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them…
We wrestle against powers and evil spirits when we suffer doing the right thing. God gets the glory, not us. If we get in a trial and everything is about us, we won’t be giving God glory but will be trying to defend ourselves or retaliating.
Ephesians 6:10-12 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Cain retaliated by killing his brother because he was jealous. God accepted Abel’s offering but wouldn’t accept Cain’s because Cain had an attitude against Abel. Sin is at the door if we have a bad attitude and God won’t accept our offering.
Genesis 4:1-8 And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain…And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And…it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth…Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth?…If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door…Cain talked with Abel…when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel…and slew him.
If someone has something against us, we need to go to them and try to make things right. If they won’t forgive, we have to pray for them and not retaliate. God will deal with them. Elijah killed Jezebel’s prophets of Baal and she said she was going to kill Elijah. She was retaliating against him, but God took revenge against her. She was pushed out of a window, run over by Jehu’s horses, and dogs ate all of her body except for her skull, feet, and palms of her hands (II Kings 9:30-35).
I Kings 19:1-3 And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done…how he had slain all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow…And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beersheba…and left his servant there.
We have to be completely committed to let God use us, no matter what kind of trial we suffer – not take things into our hands or retaliate. God will test and try us to see if we love him with all our heart. Abraham was completely committed.
Genesis 22:11-12 And the angel of the Lord called…Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad…for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.
Paul and Silas were tested when they were beaten and thrown in jail after telling about Jesus. They were singing and praising God because they were completely committed to God in the trial. When we’re 100% committed to God, we need to keep our thankfulness when suffering and trials come. God is the one who takes revenge. It takes faith to go through trials. Paul gave his qualifications before he was saved. He said without Christ they were nothing, like dung. We can’t count our accomplishments more important than to know Christ and be what God want us to be.
Philippians 3:5-10 Circumcised the eighth day…an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ…count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ…for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness…but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
Vengeance is God’s if we’re wronged. We must keep an attitude of forgiveness like Jesus. He said “Father, forgive them.”
Romans 12:16-21 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. 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. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink…shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
If someone won’t forgive and is like an enemy to us, Jesus said to do good, love them, and pray for those who treat us badly. If we have too much flesh and pride, instead of acting like Jesus, we’ll retaliate in revenge when someone says bad things to us. We will hate those who would be our enemy instead of loving them like Jesus said to.
Matthew 5:32-48 Ye have heard…Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
(Notes from the Mature Class Bible Study, teacher Edith Tolbert)