Revenge. Retaliate. Don’t get mad, get even. You know, an eye for an eye. At a minimum, it is important for me to defend myself.
As followers of Christ we know there is a better way, but this one can be very difficult. We don’t want to appear weak or unwilling to step up. Even when we abide in Christ and are prompted by the Holy Spirit, we struggle with giving it to God. What can follow are serious consequences and we look for an answer in scripture. From his book Bible Answers for Almost All Your Questions, Elmer Towns shares an answer from God’s Word:
Jesus gave the proper attitude regarding vengeance when he said, “If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also” (Matthew 5:40). This verse does not mean you should not defend your family, your property, or your country, but rather that you should not attempt personal revenge, even though you might use the law to compensate for personal injury.
Paul reinforces this theme: “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay”’ (Romans 12:19; see also verses 20-21).
Self-revenge has no place in the Christian life. We are told to “give place to wrath,” which means you allow God to handle the situation, rather than taking revenge yourself. You should “overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21). You must resist the impulse to retaliate to do good to those who do evil to you.
What has your reaction been when wronged by another person? What has been the result of that action?
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