I write this and ask myself: first, do I now or will I ever post it? why do I want vengeance? am I right to want it? am I the one that should have vengeance or the one that deserves to suffer the vengeance of another? And, by vengeance, I don’t mean doing harm to another. Fighting them, damaging their property, keying a car, etc. I have never been the type to do such to someone. I was taught differently and could never be that way. But, the revenge I think of is seeing whoever it is I am upset with, that I think did me wrong, whether significant wrong or a very minor slight sometimes didn’t matter. I wanted to see that person suffer some how. Maybe in school hoped they would get detention or flunk a test, maybe I wanted to see them stumble, fall off a bike, wreck their car, or have serious problems with their car. Other times, I wanted to see someone face some other difficulty, financial, relationship problems, maybe I wanted to make a person cry by saying or doing something or acting a way that would upset them. Revenge doesn’t have to be from directly doing something harmful to someone, it could be just the act of wishing it would happen. But, wishing for bad for someone is as bad as doing something bad. It is vengeance in one’s mind. Spiritually, I know Jesus does not want this from us. He wants us to be better than we are and He wants us to show Him through our actions. We cannot live for Him and let Him live through us with that kind of thinking. Once again, I need to look to Him and His word to see how best to apply what He teaches and see how He wants me to feel and act. I can’t grow in Him if I don’t learn what is keeping me held back
Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but [rather] give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance [is] mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Romans 12:19
Now, at first read, one might say that He is telling us that He will avenge any slights or wrongs we feel we have suffered. But, with more thought, I realize that Jesus is telling us that we need to give all those wrongs over to Him, so He can deal with them. Yes, He says He will repay. What God doesn’t say is how He will repay. What I see now is that Christ wants us to give over to Him the feeling that we need vengeance. He promises that He will make things right. Maybe when he says He will repay He isn’t saying He will get revenge for us. Maybe He will repay us for giving up that kind of thinking. Jesus will give us peace in place of the feeling of anger and hurt. Maybe that is what He means. He could also mean He plans to place such a burden of guilt on the other person that they will suffer from that more than the pain they inflicted on you. And, with a spiritual mind I would say, maybe they will repent and come to know Him. Eventually they come to you and ask for forgiveness, if you act Christ like, you will forgive and quite possibly gain a friend. That seems like a total win-win to me!
But, how should I act when I feel that I have been mistreated in some way?
Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. Matthew 5:38-39
I used to believe that this meant we should continue to allow another to hurt us, but more than that, He wants us to know that we shouldn’t try to strike back. Trying to strike back just escalates the bad and would put me in a position of increased suffering as things worsen. One blow (physical or verbal) leads to a second, third, on and on. Each time one of those involved will try to inflict more pain on the other. By trying to get an eye for an eye we simply make things worse for all and, once again, interfere with our own relationship with Christ.
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32
No, He doesn’t want us to get our own revenge, Jesus does not want us to strike back. He wants us to have a soft heart towards others.
For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: Matthew 6:14
Yup, once again, He wants me to forgive and if I do, I win because I get forgiven too. So many ways God tells me how to live better, for Him so I can better show Jesus in my actions. I have many times been upset about something that happened, wrong or right in the situation, if things did not go as I wanted, I wanted to blame someone else and I wanted them to suffer somehow, to get vengeance. Like I said, I didn’t try to cause others harm, but I sure prayed that He avenge me. The more I reflect on the first verse I quoted today, the more I realize, He isn’t promising to avenge me, He is saying that it is His, and only His to determine if vengeance should be given. He instructs me to not focus on revenge but to put that thought out of my mind because a mind that is filled with bitter and angry thoughts cannot focus on the good things He has in store. It isn’t always easy to redirect my thoughts. But, as I grow in my walk with Him it becomes progressively less and less difficult. And, hopefully, will learn that the repayment will be a more blessed and happy life for me.
Lord, please help me in understanding your heart and mind so I can better be of your heart and mind. That I not allow things, real or only perceived, that have hurt me to interrupt my life and interfere with ability to seek you. I pray that you help me better turn the other cheek, forgive, and place all in your hands.
I also pray that you continue to guide and protect me in all ways. That you help me find the right thoughts and words to show You in my life. That You use me in some way to show You in my life. I pray that you give me better ability to forgive and that you speak to those from whom I need forgiveness.
Thank you Lord for all your love and mercy.