Say not, I will do so to him as he hath done to me: I will render to the man according to his work.
You know the “golden rule”: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. But do you know the devil’s rule? It is the sin of this proverb: Do unto others as they have done unto you. The former promotes love and kindness; the latter promotes hatred and revenge. Wisdom brings peace and unity, but proud folly brings malice and war.
There are two responses to being wronged by a person – the princely way that pleases God and brings peace, or the selfish way that follows the devil and creates strife. You can defer anger, ignore an offence against you, and show forgiveness and kindness (Pr 19:11; 25:21-22). Or you can get angry, remember the offence against you, and plot revenge.
The advantages of wisdom in this area of life are wonderful. If you remember another’s offence against you, then he or she becomes your master. Day and night you are plagued by the memory of what he did to you. Day and night you plot what you might do in return to take revenge and defend yourself. Bitterness slowly eats your soul like a cancer.
If you do not take revenge, you are destroyed from the inside out, but he is free and happy. If you do take revenge, you have put in motion a serious and vicious conflict that will cost you dearly (Pr 15:18; 17:14; 26:21; 29:22; 30:33). If you kill your pride and bury the issue, you will peacefully prosper by God’s blessings (Pr 28:25; I Pet 5:6-7).
If you fear an enemy will destroy you unless you fight back, you have forgotten God your defender (Pr 16:7; 20:22; Ps 27:1-6). If you fear an enemy will get away with unjust cruelty toward you, you have forgotten the God of vengeance (Ps 3:7; 94:1; Rom 12:19). Instead of the faithless approach of following feelings, put your trust in the Mighty God.
Jesus Christ taught the same as Solomon. Minor personal offences, such as being slapped on a cheek, should be totally ignored (Matt 5:38-42). He taught that minor personal enemies should be treated kindly, just as God generously treats His personal enemies every day (Matt 5:43-48). He taught that God will torment those that do not forgive their enemies from their heart (Matt 18:21-35). Free your soul by following Jesus’ doctrine.
Paul taught the same advice. He warned against private revenge, recommended leaving vengeance in God’s hands, and exalted the power of returning good for evil to your personal adversaries (Rom 12:17-21). Instead of rendering evil for evil, he taught that a good course of forgiveness and kindness should be followed with all men (I Thess 5:15).
Who can you forgive today? What bitterness, grudge, or revenge can you cancel today? If you forgive others, God will forgive you; if you will not, God will not forgive you (Matt 6:14-15; 18:21-35). God has forgiven you, so why not forgive others (Eph 4:31-32)? Do it now! Be a prince and take the high road – the road of righteousness of Almighty God.