I have a friend whose ex-boyfriend is humiliating her online and she wants to retaliate to make him stop but I am telling her God will step in but it doesn’t seem like He is because the ex is still doing it. Where is God’s Vengeance in all of this? – Dee
Dee, that is a good question and in a real-life situation. The answer is simple but takes a bit of explaining because of our darkened understanding and wrong expectations of God. I will try.
One of the highest principles God operates on is to honor free will. God could have made us as machines, or slaves or free moral agents. Machines could only unthinkingly do God’s will. Slaves might do God’s will but only from fear of punishment. He chose to make us free moral agents as what He really wanted was to receive and, especially, to give love. Only free moral agents could choose to give love in return. But with freedom always comes risk. If free to choose to love God and others, people are also free to choose not to.
Your friend’s ex is not doing God’s will but, if God forced him to do it, God would be acting no better than the ex himself.
On the question of retaliation, what would that likely do? Probably just make things worse. How would one retaliate? Perhaps by some name calling or other response to humiliate the ex. If your friend did that, she would be no better than the one trying to hurt her. She would then feel not only the hurt of humiliation but also the guilt of hurting someone else. Retaliation is not the answer. Let God take care of it. Which brings up your specific question.
Here is a verse where God makes a claim about vengeance:
“Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” (Rom 12:19)
That verse discourages us from taking vengeance but, at the same times, suggests that God will take it upon Himself. I will define God’s vengeance in more detail when I get to that word as I continue to build the Character of God and the Gospel Glossary. For now, we need to consider more of how your friend should relate to vengeance. Here is some good Biblical advice:
“Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Rom 12:20-21)
The “hot coals” is a reference to afflicting the conscience which is what could happen with a kind response. Here is more good advice:
“A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.” (Pro 15:1)
A soft, even kind answer might help the situation settle down.
Watch for that detailed definition on vengeance. In the meantime, here is one verse that sheds some light on God’s vengeance:
“To me belongeth vengeance, and recompence; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste.” (Deut 32:35)
God’s form of “vengeance” is mostly to simply allow us to reap the consequences of our actions – you reap what you sow – as in this verse:
“He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him.” (Eccl 10:8)
You might suggest to your friend to react as kindly as she can. There is no guarantee the ex will change his behavior (although it may increase the chances) but that is part of the price we all pay for having freedom.