“Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. Therefore, ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head’” (Romans 12:19-20).
The prophet Habakkuk wrestled mightily with how and when God intervenes in human affairs. From his limited perspective, God’s just punishment of iniquity and wickedness had lingered too long; he was almost to the point of abandoning his faith in God (Habakkuk 1:2-4).
As Paul’s Old Testament references prove, loving your neighbor and believing in God’s justice have been perpetual expectations of God’s people.
Leviticus 19:18 reads, “You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.”
Deuteronomy 32:35 declares, “Vengeance is Mine, and recompense; their foot shall slip in due time; for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things to come hasten upon them.”
Proverbs 25:21-22 counsels, “If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; for so you will heap coals of fire on his head, and the Lord will reward you.”
The Old Testament teaches and the New Testament reaffirms three unchanging truths:
God will repay the doer of evil and the doer of good.
God will repay the evil doer with His just vengeance.
God will reward the doer of good.
God is not neutral toward good or toward evil. Though you, like Christ, cannot control how others treat you, you do have complete power over how you treat others, even those who mistreat you. You choose to be a doer of evil or a doer of good, and God will repay you according to the choice you make.