The Risk of Revenge

“Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 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” (Romans 12:17-9).  
We are defensive people. When someone comes against us and does us wrong, our nature is to repay the favor. We want justice; we want others to pay for what they did to us.  
It’s not a crime to want justice to be served, but we cross the line into sin when we try to avenge ourselves. God calls this sin. We hate to admit this, but when we try to even the score, we are actively involved in sin. You might wonder what’s the harm in settling the score if someone has done something unjustifiable to you or someone you love, but the problem is that you never really settle the score.  

Vengeance leads to more vengeance. It becomes a cycle of hatred. If you retaliate by seeking revenge, you might indeed hurt the other person, but you’ll hurt yourself in the process. Causing someone else pain, no matter how justifiable, will not bring you peace. We think that if we could just make our accuser or enemy hurt as much as they hurt us, we’ll feel better, but inflicting wounds on another is not worth the ramifications.  

If you’ve been burned by someone—had a traumatic experience, been abused, neglected, persecuted—the hardest part of healing is forgiveness. The last thing we want to be told is that we should forgive and forget. You can’t forget the damage that’s been done to you. God is the only one who can forgive and forget. When He tells you to love your enemy instead of seeking revenge, it’s not so that your enemy can get away with their crime, but so that you don’t fall into the pit of unforgiveness. There is no more dangerous place for a Christian to be than living in unforgiveness.  

Your Father says that He will repay. Those who accuse you, abuse you, stir up trouble around every corner—they will not get away with the crime, but you must trust that God will take care of the judgement. He avenges because He is the only one who can rightly accuse without succumbing to sin.  

The risk of retaliation will only pull you further away from God and His purpose for your life; therefore, do not give Satan the satisfaction of revenge, because he would love nothing more than to see you hurt someone because they hurt you first. Even if those who wound you never say, “I’m sorry” and never come to seek your forgiveness, vengeance is never how you achieve justice. Vengeance belongs to your Father, and He will defend you.  

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