A Season of Psalms - Psalm 109:1-5
“Be not silent, O God of my praise! For wicked and deceitful mouths are opened against me, speaking against me with lying tongues. They encircle me with words of hate, and attack me without cause. In return for my love they accuse me, but I give myself to prayer. So they reward me evil for good, and hatred for my love.”
English Standard Version (ESV)
How do you feel about payback? Mel Gibson gave us a rather violent example in the 1999 movie “Payback,” where he plays a thief who is betrayed by both his wife and his partner in crime. During a heist in which he was due to receive $70,000, he was shot in the back by his wife and left for dead. As he spent five months recuperating from his wounds, he begins a vengeful search for his partner, to recover his share of the cash that was due him in the heist. Through “many dangers, toils, and snares,” he recovers his share of the money and flees to Canada to begin a new life.
Payback is the theme of Psalm 109. The psalmist cries out for divine intervention when his enemies encircle him with hate and attack him without cause, even as he shows them goodness and kindness. The psalmist pleads for revenge, not “an eye for an eye,” but rather familial or generational curses (described in verses 8-20). He asks for God’s deliverance so that his accuser will face the reality that God stands at the right hand and fights for the one who needs Him.
In the New Testament, Jesus calls us to not to seek retaliation, but to pray for our enemies and do good to those who persecute us. If evil is returned for good, we should do what David says in verse 4: “I will give myself to prayer.” Good advice! When we don’t know what to do or how to react, we should pray. Pray that our enemies will know Christ personally as their Savior and Lord. Jesus prayed for His enemies, yet they still crucified Him. Retaliation allows no room for the peace of Christ to dwell in our hearts, and thus the saying is true: When you’re bumped, you spill what you’re filled with. Let’s spill Christ when we’re wronged and choose to forgive, showing that His power is real in us. The world needs to see forgiveness in action. Will it start with you today?
Further Reading: 2 Chronicles 20:12; Matthew 5:38-48
Pray with me:
Father, in Your tender mercies which are new every morning, forgive me of my trespasses and shortcomings. No matter what happens in my life, I will choose to forgive. I will choose to extend the mercy and compassion which You have granted to me. Make me an instrument of Your peace. In Jesus’ name, Amen.