Vengeance is not yours
You’ve heard it at one point or the other, “Vengeance is mine saith the Lord.” But even with the comfort of knowing that God will even the score between you and those who offend you, many people still try to exact their own revenge. The momentary feeling of satisfaction if they get it is rarely worth the pain, anguish and suffering caused to get it which is why wrath is the last, but most destructive, of the seven deadly sins which also include pride, lust, envy, gluttony, greed and sloth.
Wanting revenge is directly responsible for many of the senseless murders, familial strife and the breakdown of communities says some ministers of the Word. It is when people take the judgement of God into their own hands to punish someone they feel is deserving, that this sin proves to be most deadly.
“When I think about wrath I see it as anger,” says Pastor Jennifer Roberts, senior pastor at The Church of God of Prophecy in Great Harbour Cay in the Berry Islands. “You have this deep hate against someone else, and it just eats at you and consumes you so much you hurt others. Sometimes it is an intense hate or anger toward oneself and some people can really hurt themselves or harbor these malicious feelings because they cannot learn to forgive themselves over something that happened in the past. We have a lot of people who are walking around with so much anger toward the world and they just let it kill them.”
She says the greatest downfall of man is wrath that it is blind and people never see the big picture before it is too late.
In destroying someone else — be it financially or physically, the pastor says people cut their potential short and fail to even learn the lesson from their situation — whether someone murdered their relative, they lost their job or were cheated on by someone they trust. The Pentecostal minister says it is this blindness, and how easily people “play God” that makes this sin so dangerous.
“Just like how the fruits of the spirit grow and become pleasant extensions in your life, allowing even one deadly sin to root itself in your heart can develop disastrously in time.”
The minister says it is important to uproot any poor habits you may have, and not allow sins, especially those designated as deadly to slip into your life.
She said it is easier to give up good habits and harder to turn away from evil, but because of that, people should seek God to help them overcome trials and tribulations.
“We cannot let anger and wrath take hold of our lives. Just like the fruits of the Spirit bring love, joy, peace and patience, the deadly sin like wrath also cultivate fruits — but these are of malice, hate, confusion and destruction. To avoid the ill-effects of the sin of wrath, it is necessary to be forgiving. To truly put things behind you and not harbor ill-will to someone else even if they really harm you. And to truly come to having a sense of peace about things, you need the presence of God in your life so you can feel secure that all will be well, and He will reward and punish as He should. Jesus is a forgiver of mankind and if you truly have Him you will be able to overcome all the negativity that comes your way.”
Pastor Dunhugh Gordon, minister in charge of the Parkgate Seventh Day Adventist in New Providence says while he strongly believes that no sin is greater than the other since his faith advocates that the wages of all sin is death, when he thinks about wrath he said he could agree that it is indeed a dangerous sin.
“All sins are simply transgressions against God’s commandments and when you go against it you are turning away from what is right,” says Pastor Gordon. “While I do believe all sins are bad, wrath is especially terrible because you are making a decision to do some action against somebody out of anger and not reason. To me, wrath is a reaction to anger. It is anger with action. When you look at the Bible, the wrath of God is exhibited as a reaction to His people’s continued disobedience to Him. In most cases wrath is punishment for something God disapproves of, but it was done for a reason. Many people who react in wrath do not think as clearly about what they are doing as they should.”
He said a true Christian should be able to see and comprehend the dangers of this sin to their daily and even spiritual lives. And that as believers in God, the Bible clearly mandates that people be loving and understanding even if they do not feel like it. And that the Our Father prayer even has a line that tells the sinner to be forgiving in the same way that God forgives them.
The Seventh-day Adventist minister says it is not possible to seek the favor and forgiveness of God if you cannot soften your heart and forgive your neighbors as well.
“The Bible tells the Christian that they need to be forgiving in order to forgive. You have to practice this everyday. You should never reach the point when you become so enraged with a person that you need to be vengeful or to act against them in anger. I think the best way to avoid wrath is to always remember the golden rule — do unto others as you’d have them do unto you. Even if they did something wrong to you, do not repay it with evil. Be kind, and kindness shall too return to you.”
Wrath is something that belongs to God says Reverend Henrix Reckley, senior minister at St. John’s Native Baptist Church in San Salvador. He too says it is something that belongs to God, and isn’t something for mankind to take within his own hands. He describes it is a deadly sin because when such strong emotions are let into people’s lives, they allow it to control them.
“Wrath is a terrible thing because it goes against God’s intentions for us. He has His laws and if we follow them we will live the lives He intended for us to live. But when we stray and let other things become our master we are bound for destruction. We all need a balance and our emotions need to be in check as well,” said Rev. Reckley. “We cannot be too angry or even too sad because it is not healthy. When things come to upset us we should turn to God. Hurting other people to make you feel better is not right. You need to always act in love and understanding. God does this with us so we should do it for our neighbor as well.”
While anger is not a problem and it is fine to feel upset at times, the Baptist pastor says it is when people allow their anger to drive them to do harm to others that they are not only destroying others, but themselves as well.
“Like many bad things in life if you allow it to stay for too long it will slowly kill whatever good you did have in your life and you will sink deeper in your hole of anger and despair.”
Reverend Reckley says Christians should uplift themselves even in anger in order to forgive the ill-doer so they can move on with their life instead of wallowing in the sin that is wrath.