Desire For Vengeance
Romans 12:14 Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by
doing good (v.21).
I once spoke with a father whose son had been
brutally murdered by a family friend. In the years that
followed, he talked of his burning desire for revenge.
He knew that bitterness had overtaken his heart and
crowded out that which was good. Although he wanted
to turn this festering burden over to Jesus, he struggled
with letting go.
One of the things God put on my heart to share with
this man initially shocked him, but it also freed him up to
see that he had other options. I told him that his desire
for revenge was not completely off-base and unchristian.
I then reminded him of these words that the apostle Paul
wrote to fellow believers in Jesus, “The God of peace
will soon crush Satan under your feet” (Romans 16:20).
Paul’s statement is a surprising promise for revenge. In
other words, the apostle was encouraging his readers
to be patient because they were going to have their day
when vengeance would be God’s . . . and theirs. A time
is coming when all believers will have the opportunity to
make Satan (who is indirectly and ultimately responsible
for all of the evils in life) pay under our feet.
Part of the desire to take revenge is godly, as long as
it’s based in God’s righteousness and His timing. In the
meantime, He calls us to leave revenge up to Him (12:19)
and to work toward conquering evil by “doing good”
to those who deeply harm us (v.21). This might include
blessing them with the gift of noncondemnation or showing tough love that
forces them to own the harm of their sinful choices. Our goal? To help others
overcome evil in their lives and to prevent the evil of bitterness from overtaking
Doing what is good to those who have hurt us is letting them experience a
sample of God’s mercy and justice.
Without pretending that nothing happened, how can you do what is good
for a person who has deeply hurt you? How can doing good to those
who have hurt you be a sample of God’s mercy and justice?