Summary: Revenge-we’ve probably all plotted it at one point or another. We’ve lived out the famous saying, “don’t get mad-get even!” We think revenge will make us feel better. We think through revenge we right the wrong. Let’s take a look at the dangers of revenge
VENGEANCE IS MINE!
INTRODUCTION: Revenge-we’ve probably all plotted it at one point or another. We’ve lived out the famous saying, “don’t get mad-get even!” "Cash, check or charge?" I asked, after I folded the items the woman wished to purchase. As she fumbled for her wallet, I noticed a remote control for a television set in her purse. "Do you always carry your TV remote?" I asked. "No," she replied, "but my husband refused to come shopping with me and I figured this was the best way I could get him back." We think revenge will make us feel better. We think through revenge we right the wrong. Let’s take a look at the dangers of revenge and the benefits of refusing to seek it.
1) What are the problems associated with a vengeful heart?
• We justify it. When we have a vengeful heart we feel so strongly about it that we will justify it. In this we are actually calling an evil thing good. Woe is us for doing so. Isa. 5:20, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” Vengeance is such a strong emotion that we will have a hard time not rationalizing and justifying. “How can you sit there and tell me I shouldn’t get even with him after what he did to me? He’s going to pay for what he did. He’s going to get what he deserves. Besides, the bible says, ‘eye for an eye’. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.” Eye for an eye was not meant to be for the purpose of revenge. It was for correction and it was also for the establishment of a limitation. It was a statement of principle; the punishment was to fit the crime, not exceed it. However, for too many of us, it’s not about getting even it’s about getting one up on. We feel our actions are justified when someone wrongs us. ‘Two wrongs don’t make a right’. There’s no justification for revenge.
• Being vengeful has its consequences. One of the consequences is the hindering of productivity. Because we are consumed by bitterness and hatred toward our offenders, and because it rents so much space in our head we can have a hard time focusing on other things. We may spend way too much time thinking and plotting how we can get back at the one who wronged us. We can also become less productive in that all the stress and pressure we put ourselves through causes us to become run down, we can become depressed which will lead to escaping from our necessary duties. Because of a vengeful spirit God may actually halt our productivity. “Leonardo DaVinci, just before he commenced work on his "Last Supper" had a violent argument with a fellow painter. Leonardo was so bitter that he determined to paint the face of his enemy, the other artist, into the face of Judas, and thus take his revenge by handing the man down in infamy and scorn to succeeding generations. The face of Judas was, therefore, one of the first he finished. And everyone could easily recognize it as the face of the painter with whom he had quarreled. But when he came to paint the face of Christ, he could make no progress. Something seemed to be baffling him, holding him back, frustrating his best efforts. Finally he came to the conclusion that the thing that was frustrating him was that he had painted the face of his enemy onto the face of Judas. He painted out the face of Judas and was then able to resume his work on the face of Jesus and this time did it with the success that the ages have acclaimed. When DaVinci moved past his right to take revenge and made the right response instead, he broke the power of hatred and allowed the love of Christ to have the last word.” When we are plotting revenge we are consumed by our hatred and malice towards the offender. That eats away at our being. An attitude of vengeance causes us to be ugly, inside and out. It causes us to be centered on anger, not Christ. We are centered on doing our will, not his. And if we succeed in doing our vengeful will, we risk suffering the consequences. We can end up being charged with crimes. It would be pretty interesting to see the number of illegal offenses that are committed as a result of vengeance.
• A vengeful heart is never satisfied. Philip Yancey speaking on revenge said, “The problem with revenge is that it never gets what it wants; it never evens the score. Fairness never comes. The chain reaction set off by every act of vengeance always takes its unhindered course. It ties both the injured and the injurer to an escalator of pain. Both are stuck on the escalator as long as parity is demanded, and the escalator never stops, and it never lets anyone off.” Taking revenge won’t make it turn out alright and it won’t make you feel alright. There’s a quote that goes, “There is no passion of the human heart that promises so much and pays so little as that of revenge.” When we seek revenge we might feel good in the moment but that doesn’t change anything. We’re still angry, we’re still hurting. Not only do we not feel better, we may end up feeling worse. The odds are not good when you’re trying to get even. A vengeful heart is never satisfied.