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What Does the Bible Say About Revenge?
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What Does the Bible Say About Revenge?

The concept of revenge is one that has been around for centuries. When someone wrongs us, it can be easy to want to seek revenge, to try to make them pay for what they’ve done. However, as Christians, we are called to live according to a different set of principles. The Bible teaches us to love our enemies, to turn the other cheek, and to forgive those who have wronged us. But what does the Bible really say about revenge? And how can we apply these teachings in our daily lives?

In this blog post, we will explore the biblical perspective on revenge. We will delve into both the Old and New Testaments to examine what the Bible says about revenge and the role it should play in our lives. We will also look at practical applications of these teachings, exploring how we can respond to those who wrong us in a way that is consistent with our faith.

As Christians, we are called to be ambassadors of love and forgiveness in a world that often seems consumed by anger and revenge. By understanding what the Bible teaches about revenge and applying these teachings in our daily lives, we can help to promote peace, forgiveness, and healing in our communities. So, let’s dive in and explore what the Bible has to say about revenge.

Revenge in the bible

Revenge in the Old Testament

The concept of revenge is not new. In fact, it has been around for thousands of years. We see examples of revenge in the Old Testament, such as in Exodus 21:24-25 where it is written, “Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.” This concept is known as “an eye for an eye,” and it was meant to limit the amount of revenge that could be taken. The idea was that the punishment should be proportional to the offense.

While this passage may seem to support revenge, it is important to interpret it in the context of the time it was written. In ancient societies, revenge was often taken to the extreme, and the law was used to limit the amount of revenge that could be taken. The goal was to promote justice rather than perpetuate violence.

Revenge in the New Testament

In the New Testament, Jesus taught us that we should love our enemies and not seek revenge. In Matthew 5:38-39, He says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.” Jesus is calling us to respond to evil with love and forgiveness rather than revenge.

Jesus demonstrated this principle in His own life. He was betrayed by one of His closest friends, Judas, and was arrested, tried, and sentenced to death. But when He was on the cross, Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34). Jesus forgave those who crucified Him, and we are called to follow His example.

We also see examples of forgiveness and non-revenge in the New Testament. In Romans 12:19, it is written, “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.” Here, we are reminded that it is not our place to seek revenge, but rather to leave justice in the hands of God.

In 1 Peter 3:9, we read, “Not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.” This passage is a call to respond to evil with blessing, not revenge.

The Christian Perspective on Revenge

As Christians, we are called to love and forgive our enemies. Revenge goes against the teachings of Jesus, who taught us to love one another and to turn the other cheek. Forgiveness is a central theme in the Christian faith. Jesus Himself forgave those who crucified Him, and we are called to follow His example.

While forgiveness does not mean that we should ignore justice, it is important to seek justice without seeking revenge. We should trust in God’s ultimate justice, knowing that He will repay all wrongs in His own time.

The book of Proverbs has several passages that speak to this point. In Proverbs 20:22, we read, “Do not say, ‘I will recompense evil’; wait for the Lord, and He will save you.” In Proverbs 24:29, it is written, “Do not say, ‘I will do to him just as he has done to me; I will render to the man according to his work.'” These passages remind us to trust in God’s justice rather than seeking revenge.

It is important to note that seeking justice does not mean that we should not hold people accountable for their actions. When someone wrongs us, it is important to confront them and try to resolve the situation. If someone commits a crime, it is important to report it to the authorities. However, we should do so in a way that promotes justice and not revenge.

Practical Applications

So, how can we apply these teachings in our daily lives? Here are a few practical tips:

  • Respond to evil with love and forgiveness, not revenge. This can be difficult, especially when we feel hurt or wronged. However, as Christians, we are called to love and forgive our enemies. When someone wrongs us, we should try to respond with kindness and forgiveness rather than seeking revenge.
  • Trust in God’s justice. It can be easy to get caught up in the desire for revenge when we feel wronged. However, we should trust in God’s ultimate justice, knowing that He will repay all wrongs in His own time. We should leave justice in His hands rather than seeking revenge ourselves.
  • Seek justice without seeking revenge. It is important to hold people accountable for their actions. If someone wrongs us or commits a crime, we should report it to the authorities. However, we should do so in a way that promotes justice and not revenge. Seeking revenge will only perpetuate the cycle of violence and hurt.
  • Pray for those who have wronged you. Pray for their repentance and salvation. It can be difficult to pray for those who have wronged us, but it is important to do so. As Christians, we are called to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44). Praying for those who have wronged us can help us to let go of the desire for revenge and move towards forgiveness.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Bible’s teachings on revenge are clear. As Christians, we are called to respond to evil with love and forgiveness, not revenge. The Old Testament’s “eye for an eye” principle was meant to promote justice rather than perpetuate violence, and the New Testament teachings of Jesus call us to love our enemies and turn the other cheek. Forgiveness is a central theme in the Christian faith, and we should trust in God’s ultimate justice rather than seeking revenge ourselves.

However, applying these teachings in our daily lives can be difficult. When someone wrongs us, it can be easy to want to seek revenge or hold a grudge. But as Christians, we must remember that we are called to a higher standard. We should seek justice without seeking revenge, and we should always respond to evil with love and forgiveness.

By following these teachings, we can help to promote peace and healing in our communities. We can be ambassadors of love and forgiveness in a world that often seems consumed by anger and revenge. So, let us strive to live according to the teachings of the Bible, responding to evil with love and forgiveness, and trusting in God’s ultimate justice.

Pastor duke taber
Pastor Duke Taber

Pastor Duke Taber

All articles have been written or reviewed by Pastor Duke Taber.
Pastor Duke Taber is an alumnus of Life Pacific University and Multnomah Biblical Seminary.
He has been in pastoral ministry since 1988.
Today he is the owner and managing editor of 3 successful Christian websites that support missionaries around the world.
He is currently starting a brand new church in Mesquite NV called Mesquite Worship Center, a Non-Denominational Spirit Filled Christian church in Mesquite Nevada.