Revenge. What a sweet sound to our ears when we have been hurt or mistreated and want to get even. Who hasn’t thought about retaliating when wronged? It is a natural response to push back harder when pushed. We want payback. We don’t want to lose face. All we think of is, “how dare you!” Rage flares up. We may hold onto it for hours, days, or longer. And we believe that by retaliating, we will feel better. Even as Christians, we are tempted to strike back. We are not perfect.
But what does revenge really do?
- It compromises the flow of God’s love in your life. Your heart becomes clouded. When you let anger and resentment set in, they will take root. They will harden your heart and your spirit, and you become less sensitive to God’s voice. The root of bitterness and resentment slowly choke the love, joy, and peace you once enjoyed. And seeing others happy feels like torture to your soul.
- It affects your mindset. All you can think of is how you’ve been wronged and how you’ve been unfairly treated. Your mindset slowly shifts to the ‘poor me’ mode and you see everything through the lens of negativity. You even begin to believe that everyone is out there to hurt you. You get offended over small things and tend to blame others for your actions. You wallow in self-pity.
- You stray away from your purpose. You become so consumed by your anger and resentment that without realizing it, the other person becomes the focus of your attention. You start to lose perspective and passion. Your purpose in life becomes blurry as you dwell on the same issue over and over again. Instead of living life to the full, you turn out to be only surviving.
So, what can you do instead?
- Go to God first and give Him your hurt. You can share all your emotions and thoughts freely. He knows what happened to you. He sees the truth; nothing is hidden from Him, and He understands how you feel. Jesus was also wrongly accused, wrongly beaten and wrongly put to death on the cross… But God doesn’t want you to take revenge. He knows it will only affect your happiness. God wants you to have a rich and satisfying life. So, ask Him to help you overcome this situation and all the negative feelings associated with it. He will. He is a faithful God. Find scriptures that will uplift you. And commit everything to God. Trust God to defend you. Romans 12: 19 (NLT) says, “Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God.” God is a God of justice; no one can mock Him. He will bring justice in His time and His way. Not your way. In Isaiah 55:9 (NLT) God says, “for just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Let go and let God. It is not easy, but God knows best.
- Choose to forgive with your heart. It may feel so unfair, I know. It’s as if you are letting the other person off the hook freely. But actually, it is the contrary because you are fighting against the dark forces. It is a spiritual battle. You are opposing the enemy who wants to kill, steal, and destroy your joy, your peace, and your life. Ephesians 6:12(NLT) says that we are not fighting against flesh and blood enemies (a person) but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world (evil spirit). So, when you choose to forgive, you are winning the battle. It is hard work, I agree. But be determined to forgive and refuse to let the enemy have the upper hand on you. It is your life. Fight with God’s strength. Jesus had all the reasons in the world to seek revenge and destroy his false accusers, but instead and against all, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing…” Luke 23:34 NLT.
- Pray for the person. Jesus tells us to pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44, NLT) By praying, I mean, ask God to fill that person with His love, His joy, and His peace. And His blessings. God also loves him/her. It may be painful in your flesh, but it strengthens your relationship with God and restores your soul. You experience a new level of peace and begin to have compassion for the person. But it doesn’t mean that you are giving permission to be hurt again. If you need to confront or set some healthy boundaries, ask God to guide you.
Revenge may look very attractive and tempting, but the belief that we will feel better is only an illusion. Getting even comes at a high price. Our hope is in God only. His justice will prevail. So, let us have confidence in Him and keep doing good. At the right time, we will reap a harvest of blessing.