Scripture: Romans 12:17-21
3. Trust That God’s Justice Will Prevail
The third way to battle the unbelief of bitterness is to trust that God’s justice will prevail.
One cause of bitterness is the feeling that you have been wronged by someone. They have lied about you, or stolen from you, or been unfaithful to you, or let you down, or rejected you. And you get this feeling not only that you should not have been hurt, but that they should be punished. And you may be right.
And in feeling right you dwell on the injustice of it. You go over it again and again in your mind, and it chews at your insides. You think of things you might say to put them in their place. You think of things you could do to show others their true colors.
Now God is not pleased by this bitterness. And the reason he’s not is because it comes from unbelief in the certainty that God’s justice will prevail. Romans 12:19 says, “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.'”
What this text says is that God has made a promise that he himself will repay all wrongs in perfect measure. His justice will prevail. No wrong has escaped his notice. He sees its evil far better than you do. He hates it far more than you do. And he claims the right to take vengeance.
Do you believe this promise? Do you trust God to settle accounts for you far more justly than you could ever settle them? If you do, this text says, you will stop savoring revenge. You will leave it to God, and you will be free to return good for evil and bless those who persecute you (Romans 12:14, 20).
The battle against bitterness and vengeance is a battle against unbelief in the promise of God to vindicate us in due time and to make justice prevail (Psalm 37:6). The way to battle bitterness is to believe that vengeance belongs to the Lord and he will repay. If you keep a grudge, you doubt the Judge.
4. Trust God’s Purpose to Turn It for Your Good
The final way to battle the unbelief of bitterness is to trust God’s purpose to turn the cause of your anger for your good.
1 Peter 1:6-7 says, “For a little while you may have to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold which though perishable is tested by fire, may redound to praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
In other words, God allows trials in our lives that could make us very angry. If they couldn’t, they wouldn’t be trials. But the reason he does is to refine our faith the way gold is refined by fire.
This means that the battle against bitterness in the midst of trial is nothing other than the battle against unbelief. Will we look to the sovereign goodness of God, and believe that he means us good in the refining fire? Or will we surrender to unbelief, and let bitterness grow?