Then the king said to his men, “Do you not realize that a commander and a great man has fallen in Israel this day? And today, though I am the anointed king, I am weak, and these sons of Zeruiah are too strong for me. May the Lord repay the evildoer according to his evil deeds!”
Israel had just been at war with itself. Most of the death that had occurred was due to their own wicked deeds and hate they developed for each other by all the killing. Here we see David turn his wrath and anger and give it all to the Lord. He knows that he cannot take revenge for these deaths but leaves it to God to deal with.
In Rom 12:9 Paul quotes the Old Testament, “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. We are not to hold grudges or hold on to hate when wrong has been done to us. God sees what has happened and will dole out punishments and wrath as necessary. But why?
First, God does not want our hearts to be hardened against anyone. What we find is that all can come to the Lord in repentance, we see this in Saul who becomes Paul. God also does not want us to carry the burden of revenge and wrath in our hearts. He wants these chains to be lifted off from our hearts. In Colossians 3:13 it says, “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
Secondly, forgiveness brings about healing and grace. Forgiveness when it is least expected, begs the person to ask why? Then we can point that person to the Lord and perhaps to salvation itself. Furthermore, when we forgive each other in the Church, that shows those who are not apart that the Lord is with us and the Lord’s love guides us in our lives. It is a different way of life and a different way of living.
Finally, it reminds me that I am not perfect; that I too have sinned and my sin is against the Lord. Therefore, I will forgive and not seek vengeance because God did not seek his vengeance upon me but poured out his grace upon me. Thank you, Lord, for the grace I did not have to earn and praise be to Jesus that I have not received my just punishment.