It is not good a good thing to hurt a child of God. Paul reminds his readers of this:

Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, 'Vengeance is mine, I will repay.' says the Lord.
- Romans 12:19

This is the motivation in turning the other cheek and not returning evil for evil. It's not that there will be no justice for personal offenses – it's that God wants to be the one who administers it in His own time and way. When we are patient and wait for His justice to prevail, several things happen:

1. His purpose for us is accomplished

God fulfills certain spiritual goals in our lives through suffering. Patiently enduring offenses and injustice help create meekness, hope and greater trust in the Lord.

2. His purpose for our enemy is served

Paul was persecuted by both the Jewish and Roman leaders for his Christian faith but patiently bore it. God waited many decades to punish the Jews and centuries to bring down the Roman Empire so that their sins and disbelief would be complete. Sometimes taking "justice" into our own hands interferes with God's long-term plans for our enemies.

3. His purpose for our witness is fulfilled

From start to finish, God's word promises protection and justice for His children. Seeking our own vengeance tells the world that we don't really trust God when it really counts.

If God says He'll do it, waiting for Him to act is the strongest message of faith and courage we can send our enemies. Remember, God's justice often seems slow, but never doubt that it will come.

Discussion Questions

  1. Have you ever been treated unfairly and not received justice? If so, how, and what were your feelings at the time?
  2. In your opinion, why do you think God waits so long to punish wicked people while the innocent suffer needlessly?
  3. What is the best action to take when the person who has offended you refuses to consider their own actions, and even rejects your offer of forgiveness?
  4. What did Jesus mean when He said, "Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God."? (Matthew 5:9)
  5. Who is your worst enemy? Why? How would you turn the other cheek in dealing with this person?