“We Can’t Let Him (or Her) Get Away With That . . .”

But if you are a believer in Christ, and if you are seeking to follow Jesus Christ as Lord in your life and his Word as your inspired guide to life, you may have to ask to be excused at this point.

This is one of the lines that is often used by some people to try to involve others in trying to punish what they deem as reprehensible conduct by others. The person who is being solicited may in fact not have been affected adversely by the person seeking to instigate the punishment. Usually it involves no honest discussion of whatever happened with whoever had committed that conduct. Usually the person trying to instigate some kind of punishment against that person starts either to try to outline a plan of attack or to brainstorm a plan of attack against the offended person. Often enough, there is no statute of limitations either on the offense or the length of the punishment.

Scripture gives several reasons why the believer needs to avoid being caught in this vengeance scheme.

First, scripture forbids believers to pursue private vengeance, but to leave vengeance to the Lord. “Do not return evil for evil to anyone . . . do not take vengeance for yourselves, beloved, but give way to wrath, because it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay,’ says the Lord.’” (Romans 12:17, 19, Dale’s sight translation).

Second, scripture calls taking up the quarrels of others folly, and advises believers not to go down a path where they will suffer the consequences as meddlers in other people’s business:

“Like one who seizes a dog by the ears is a passer-by who meddles in a quarrel not his own.” (Proverbs 26:17, New International Version).

“ . . . don’t let any of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or a wrongdoer, or even as a meddler in other people’s business,” (I Peter 4:15, Dale’s sight translation).

There are usually some viable alternatives that the believer can suggest. The first is to suggest that the offended person speak to the person who may have caused the offense. Next, if that person is a believer, reminder of the scriptures that forbid vengeance, command private correction, as well as forgiveness and patience, is in order.