If it is possible, as much as it is up to you, be at peace with all men. Don’t seek revenge yourselves, beloved, but give place to God’s wrath.
For it is written, “Vengeance belongs to me; I will repay, says the Lord.”
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him.
If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
for in doing so, you will heap coals of fire on his head.”
Don’t be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
It is interesting that we read these directives in this passage
1) “be at peace with all men”
2) “Don’t seek revenge”
3) “give place to God’s wrath”
Notice that Paul also makes it clear that sometimes it is impossible for us to be at peace with all men. Some men refuse to allow us to love God and have peace at the same time. They literally make God illegal and fight directly against Him in us. There isn’t any way to have peace in this situation and God knows that.
Notice that we must intend to live at peace and not to seek revenge at all. Some people take this to mean that God is a God who doesn’t believe in revenge. This is obviously not the case. God believes in revenge, He just doesn’t give us the permission to do it. There are so many times in which revenge taken out by one man against another was not justly performed. God is the only one who really understands the heart of the person doing the wrong and only He knows exactly what a person deserves. God also knows how to bring these evil people to a place where they can receive forgiveness.
Notice that we are actually told to “give place” to the wrath of God here. It is much wiser to recognize God’s wrath against your enemy than it is to do something yourself. God will do it right. If we continue to act in love and they continue to be our enemies, the wrath of God will burn against them and He will take action. So we see, God doesn’t expect us to just accept unrighteousness but to “give place” to Him. Notice that God says that we can overcome evil with good. I take that as a promise. Good is more powerful than evil no matter how it looks.