A Question I Was Asked:

Why Should We Not Bring Harm on our Enemies? Was Paul Being Hypocritical?

Why is it that Jesus Christ advised to his followers to do good, toward our enemies, to those that harm us? To defeat evil doing good, not revenge or to wish, equally against, them the same. Why then, the apostle Paul wrote this? 'Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm. I underline the following verse: The Lord will repay him for what he has done Timothy 4: 14 ...If God even forgives drug dealers, who are murderers? Or even simply, that people around us, that put us to the test us as Christians, in order to see our resulting behaviour, and to judge us when we fail, because we are not perfect, as you know? Why then, did the apostle write it?

UK Apologetics Reply:

Because God says, 'Vengeance is mine.' God takes responsibility for dealing with evil, it is His right and responsibility because He is God. We don't have the right nor responsibilty for bringing harm on evil-doers, or even to arrange it. For us, it would be character weakening and spiritually harmful. That is what Paul meant in 2 Timothy 4:14. God will indeed repay these people, but it is not for us to do. In moments of weakness even David seemed to wish harm on his enemies, but it is not our area of responsibility. Yes, God will forgive but that is another matter and people must be repentant to receive that forgiveness, God does not just dish out forgiveness to evil people willy-nilly. These people will all need to individually come to God for forgiveness at some point. God does not simply appease the evil.

17. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. 20. On the contrary:
"If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." 21. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:17-21).

Now let's look at the Scripture I am asked about:

Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will repay him for what he has done. (2 Timothy 4:14).

So the point here is that it is God Who would repay Alexander the metalworker, it was not for Paul or any of his fellow-labourers in the Gospel to have any part in it.

Robin A. Brace. February 5th, 2018.