19 May Revenge Culture Gone Mad
When someone wrongs how do you respond?
There is an all too alarming trend in our culture and in the church to pursue retribution or revenge – to avenge usually by retaliating in kind or degree. We justify our actions by saying we are seeking justice – the process or result of using laws to fairly judge and punish crimes and criminals. However, when we avenge ourselves, that is revenge.
One of the reasons we are prone to seek revenge is the mentality that if you seek revenge against someone who hurt or wronged you, it will bring some solace to your situation or make you feel good. In a crazy paradox, there is research that shows when we seek revenge it makes it worse for our hearts (http://www.apa.org/monitor/2009/06/revenge.aspx).
Jesus actually addressed this issue when he said in Matthew 5:38-39, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.’” Jesus established a whole new law for how we are to relate to others.
Jesus calls his followers to be set free from all desire for personal revenge. We don’t give up justice, but we can forgive! The point is that when someone wrongs you, you don’t close the door for relationship. Our sinful hearts want to say, “I cut you off. I want nothing to do with you.” The Christian says “what you did was wrong, and I want justice, but anytime you want to be in relationship I am ready.”
Think of someone that you have a desire to seek revenge against today and spend some time confessing and ask God to move your heart in a miraculous way that would enable you to keep the door open for relationship.