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Estel's Prayer

"Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance IS Mine, I will repay," says the Lord."  Romans 12:19 

I learned a real lesson in grace as I sat on Estel's couch one hot summer afternoon. "Pastor, I pray to God that He doesn't take vengeance on my enemies," Estel said. "I wouldn't want my worst enemies to have to deal with God's vengeance." As I took another sip of Ice Tea, I let the power of his words sink in.

I've never questioned God's power. If He is powerful enough to create the universe, breathe into man the breath of life, and raise Jesus from the dead, He certainly is powerful enough to take vengeance out on my enemies. And Estel was definitely right, He is powerful enough to get the job done. So why then, was I struggling with wanting to do something to hurt those who were hurting me?

Forgiving others, doesn't mean those who hurt us go unpunished. It means that we step aside and allow the Lord to deal with punishment. If we are going to leave the matter in God's hands, we must decide to trust Him. If He says He will repay, He will repay. 

As I examined my heart, deep down inside, I was withholding forgiveness because I didn't want to be a total putz. If I forgave my enemies, then I was becoming a doormat for them to walk over or worse yet, a punching bag for them to disrespect. 

At the time, I wasn't able to pray Estel's prayer for my enemies. The best I could do was to forgive them and turn them over to God's wrath. But as God continued to work on my heart, in time, I was able to take the next step and pray Estel's prayer, and to delight in God's grace when He answered it.

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