ROMANS 12:19 NLT
19 Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the LORD.
I always thought God put this passage in the Bible to help me learn a principle such as self control or forgiveness or something; like a parent giving a lecture to their child, “Stop teasing your friend or you will be sent to your room” kind of thing. I always felt disciplined and judged.
However, the more I read this verse, and the more I learn about God, the more I realize that not just this passage, but most of the rules that God wants me to obey serve a purpose to protect me. He is not just randomly handing out a list of do’s and don’ts.
Research shows that unresolved anger can build up toxins in a person’s body over time, eventually manifesting itself through actual physical symptoms such as headaches, stomach aches, insomnia, and eventually possibly stroke, heart attack, depression, to name but a few. Any of these symptoms, if left untreated, can affect a person’s ability to live a happy, healthy lifestyle (taken from The Women’s and Children’s Health Network).
How many of us have unresolved anger in our lives over family conflicts, work situations, road rage, or an injustice done to a loved one (perceived or real)? How many of us justify our anger which turns into hatred when left to grow? I need to remember that when I harbor anger toward a situation, a specific person, or an event in my life that the main person I am hurting is myself.
Now I am able to see the bigger picture. Not only does unresolved anger further alienate me from people, situations, and events, but most importantly, it destroys me from the inside out. When viewed that way, why would anyone choose to destroy themselves? To choose to forgive is not the same thing as choosing to forget (a topic for another day), but it is obeying God’s Word and that is something that I want to actively pursue. I love knowing that the rules God puts in the Bible for me to follow have reason behind them. They are not random but instead serve a purpose. Even if they didn’t, I trust Him enough to obey, but it sure is nice knowing that I serve a God who loves me so much that he does not want me to destroy myself.
I am reminded of that simple act of love every time I instill a rule with my children that helps to protect them.