Jonathon Wild was a notable thief and master manipulator. He appeared to be on the side of the law by offering London police his assistance in finding stolen goods, but he was the thief.
Wild ran a gang of thieves who kept the stolen goods and waited for the crime to be announced in the newspapers. He would then claim that his agents had found the stolen goods and return the items to the rightful owner for a reward.
The story of Jonathon Wild is just one of the many betrayal stories recorded throughout history. Even the pages of Scripture are no exception . Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss of death; King Saul sought to kill David even though David had served with loyalty. The Book of Judges shares how Delilah betrayed Samson’s when she allowed the Philistines to shave his hair.
Our first response to betrayal is anger and to seek our own form of revenge. Licking our wounds isn’t an option; we want a payback and we want it to be worse than what was done to us. In the case of Jonathon Wild, his duplicity eventually became known and he was hanged before a massive crowd. Forgiveness wasn’t an option to those he betrayed.
For Christians, forgiveness is the only option when others deceive and fail us. It isn’t our job to take revenge. We are called to forgive in the same way Christ has forgiven us. That’s a bitter pill to swallow when every fiber of our body cries out for vengeance. It might feel good for the moment, but when we react on our own, we are essentially telling God we don’t trust Him to handle every situation.
“It is mine to avenge; I will repay. In due time their foot will slip; their day of disaster is near and their doom rushes upon them.” Deuteronomy 32:35 (NIV)
Nothing is hidden from the eyes of God and when He exacts revenge it is done objectively. Our biased opinion isn’t needed to determine just recompense. God needs us to let go (forgive). If we can let go of the experience and our desire for revenge, we can move beyond the betrayal. The negative emotions associated with the betrayal may remain unchanged and that’s OK.
The act of letting go helps us look past our hurt and anger and resign our case to the final jurisdiction of El Nathan Neqamah* (The God Who Avenges Me).
Is it time for you to let go and trust God to right the wrong?
*Play for Pronunciation
Words well said. Our God said he would repay and He will and does, but in His time. Forgiveness is a virtue for sure.