I’m going to get you back for that one! Not letting that one go! I think we have all said or thought that at one time or another. I know in my case, it’s been a lot more than once. As a matter of fact, growing up in school, it was my mantra which fueled me, or so I thought.
I say this because, if the opportunity did not present itself soon enough, I wound up feeling resentful, then depressed about the situation. Now take that, and multiply it two times, five times, ten times,…you get the picture. And even if revenge was accomplished, how satisfying could it really be if the offender did not know who or why the revenge was carried out. And, in most cases, it was not known, because if it were, further retaliation could ensue.
So then, what to do with all the pent up frustration and rage? Confront the person face to face? Take the person to court? Well, in the book Matthew, chapter 18 verse 15 we have a passage which speaks of bringing an offense before a “brother”, in the hopes that reconciliation can be achieved. But, what if their offense is not acknowledged, or the offender cares little about the wrong that has been done? And further, what if the offense does not rank as a violation of the law? Do we take matters into our own hands? Well, in some situations whether it be monetary or otherwise, we can exhaust every recourse available to us. Then what do we do?
In scripture, we find a similar theme. This idea of payback or revenge has obviously been around as long as man, and the our Heavenly Father gives us clear guidelines on how to handle situations like these. Let’s go to Jesus Christ as our first example. As recorded in the scriptures, as many of you may know, Jesus is being crucified by the Roman government at the behest of the Jewish religious leaders of the day. While on the cross, as recorded in Luke 23:43, Jesus says, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.” Now, if anyone was justified in seeking revenge from unjust treatment, it would have been Christ himself. Yet, in the scripture we find further support for this idea of allowing God to take vengeance in our behalf.
In scripture, there are several passages concerning this, but I will mention just a few. First in Romans 12:19 the Apostle Paul writes, “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” Now, if we read further on, we are encouraged to help or assist the one who is in fact our enemy. So then in verse 20 we read, “Therefore if think enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.” On the other side of the spectrum, we have a scripture that is much less aggressive in nature, yet also found in our New Testament. In 1 Peter 3:9 we read, “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called, so that you may inherit a blessing.”
The above mentioned passages are just two of many you will find in scripture relating to revenge and recompense. As residents of this world, we owe it to ourselves to find peace in the midst of the mistreatment we will all eventually face.
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