Book: Proverbs 24
“And don’t say, ‘Now I can pay them back for what they’ve done to me! I’ll get even with them!’”
There is no place for revenge in the Kingdom of God. Revenge is a sign that forgiveness has not taken place and anger and bitterness has replaced grace and mercy.
I remember a pastor taking me out for coffee just after an organization had hurt me. He said to me, “Steve you need to forgive them quickly or else bitterness will creep in and that will destroy you.” He went on to share about a person he was close to who had been hurt by a Christian organization and instead of forgiving them had held on to that transgression. That person had gradually become more and more bitter. That bitterness started to affect their physical health. It was not until that person went back to the root cause and forgave those involved, did she start to receive physical healing. This pastor did not want me to go through the same unnecessary pain, and so he warned and encouraged me to deal with it immediately.
Take note of what Romans 12:17-21 says about how we are to deal with those who may have wronged us: “Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the LORD. Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads. Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.” Leave the revenge part to God who is the perfect one to deal with such matters.
If you need one more argument why you should forgive and not look for revenge consider how Christ has dealt with your sin. Ephesians 4:31-32 says, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” He demonstrated ultimate love for us by dying for our sins and not giving us what we deserve.
If there is any unforgiveness in your heart today or a desire for revenge, may I encourage you and warn you just like my pastor friend did with me, “deal with it today”. Don’t hold onto it as bitterness will seep into your life. Instead experience the joy God gives to those who love their enemies!