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Is God Merciful or Vengeful? Part 1

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If a female is sexually harassed at work by a guy who later apologizes, she should forgive him, right? God says in the Bible that vengeance is His.So will God pay back the guy with vengeance? But if the guy asks for forgiveness, does that mean God will drop the vengeance?But if God drops it, then why does He say, "Vengeance is mine; I will repay"? It doesn't seem like God really will punish the guy. Please explain this to me.


Steve Answers:

Sexual harassment has become a hot issue because of increased public awareness. While some people quickly dismiss it, sexual harassment can violate a person and make forgiveness extremely difficult.The verse you quoted is Romans 12:19: “Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord” (KJV). But Paul is actually quoting Deuteronomy 32:35, which is also quoted in Hebrews 10:30.

Deuteronomy 32:35 is part of the Song of Moses. It talks about what would happen if God’s people quit following Him. First, He’d actually use heathen nations to punish them. But if those heathen nations took things too far, God would certainly take care of His people and bring vengeance on their enemies.For example, in Isaiah 10:7 Israel’s enemy, Assyria, wants to go beyond punishing the people of Israel to actually destroying them. But Assyria ends up contending with God Himself, because He ultimately takes vengeance on them for taking things too far.When Paul quoted that Old Testament passage in Romans 12:19, he’d just finished talking about loving others—even those who’ve done you wrong. In verse 17 Paul instructs the reader not to repay evil with evil and not to take revenge on others, because God will handle that.

Paul goes on to explain that we should take care of our enemies, be nice to them, and overcome evil with good. That’s what Jesus taught.But obviously, this takes more than good intentions or strong willpower. It requires accepting God’s love for us and then living it out toward others.The Hebrews 10:30 reference to God’s vengeance is in the context of turning one’s back on God after receiving the good news about what He’s done for us. If we continue to refuse His gift, it’s as though we ourselves crucify Jesus all over again.That’s serious, especially in light of the fact that in the end God will settle every score that needs to be settled. Yes, vengeance is God’s, and He will repay.

So will He take vengeance on the guy who sexually harasssed someone at work? We’ll talk about that next week.

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