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Is revenge against someone bad, even if itís deserved?


Is revenge against someone bad, even if itís deserved?óSummer, online

Shayna Answers:

Dear Summer,

Punishment for doing wrong is a necessary consequence for sin (Romans 6:23). Punishment is usually meant to correct—to uplift, not to necessarily hurt a person. So facing a consequence for wrong behavior isn’t “bad.” The meaning of the word “revenge” carries with it anger and selfishness. According to the Bible, when we try to enforce consequence for wrong behavior through revenge, it’s “bad.”

God tells us in Romans 12:19 that “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay.” Psalm 135:14 promises: “The Lord will judge His people, and He will have compassion on His servants.” As our Creator, God is the only one who is really entitled to judge what is right and wrong (Deuteronomy 1:17).

What are we supposed to do while we’re waiting for God’s vengeance? Romans 12:21 says that we’re supposed to “overcome evil with good,” and verse 20 says we’re supposed to show kindness to our enemy. By doing so, we will “heap coals of fire on his head.”

Now, letting things go, especially when we’ve been hurt unfairly, is definitely easier said than done. As Christians, we are to love people even when we want to hate them. Romans 12:14 even says not to just forgive these people, but to “bless” those who’ve persecuted us.

Instead of focusing on revenge, try to understand what may have prompted your aggressor’s behavior. They may seem to just pick on you for no reason, but if you pay closer attention, you may notice that they’re jealous of something about you, struggling with their own insecurities, or they just want to be your friend. If you resist giving into their negative behavior, you’ll probably surprise them by following the instructions in Romans 12. You may even become friends.

Even if some people may tease you for not retaliating, an equal number will be curious as to why you didn’t. Some may ask you about it, others will just respect you. Without even intending to do it, you may unintentionally make your aggressor look ridiculous and petty. That’s probably worse revenge than anything else you could do.

Ultimately, Jesus is the only one who knows anyone’s heart (Romans 8:27), and He knows the appropriate revenge for that person. This is why God encourages us to be merciful and to consider what another person is going through. (Matthew 5:7; Philippians 2:3).

Pray for and bless the person that’s hurting you, and be confident that eventually God will punish fairly and appropriately for you. If you’re unsure about how serious God takes revenge, read Exodus chapters 7 through 12.

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