What does the Bible teach about revenge?

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By BibleAsk Team


The Bible and Revenge

About revenge, the Bible encourages forgiveness and turning the other cheek. Here are some verses related to revenge and vengeance in the New King James Version (NKJV):

1-Romans 12:19 – “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.” Believers in the Lord are never to attempt to seek revenge upon those who treat them unjustly. They should leave the matter with God. Only a perfect loving God can rightly judge and justly punish the wicked.

2-Proverbs 20:22 – “Do not say, ‘I will recompense evil’; Wait for the Lord, and He will save you.” God declares that vengeance is His (Hebrews 10:30). Christians who put their trust in Him will be so guarded by Him that all the attacks of their foes will turn out to be for their good (Romans 8:28).

3-Leviticus 19:18 – “You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.” To bear a grudge is quite useless and taking revenge doesn’t bring peace, it does no one good, and does the bearer much harm. Taking revenge saddens the heart, and gives a hateful view of life

4-Matthew 5:38-39 – “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.” Christ taught, do not seek revenge for wrongs suffered. Here, He seems to speak about active hostility rather than to passive resistance. The Christian should not face violence with violence. He should strive to “overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21) and “heap coals of fire” upon the head of one who wrongs him (Proverbs 25:21, 22).

5-1 Thessalonians 5:15 – “See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all.” It is the natural tendency of the mind to take revenge, but the believer way should be different. Christ forbids retaliation in kind, and urges His children to return good for evil (Matthew 5:38–48).

6-Proverbs 24:29 – “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.'” The wise man warns against a person’s adopting the opposite of the golden rule. Even though an enemy has lied against us, we are not to do so to him. Whatever wickedness he may have done us, we are not to return to him. Recompense belongs to God (Hebrews 10:30).

7-Matthew 6:14-15 – “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” He who is not willing to forgive others does not deserve to be forgiven. In addition, to grant forgiveness to him would be to approve his own unforgiving spirit.

8-Proverbs 25:21-22 – “If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; For so you will heap coals of fire on his head, And the Lord will reward you.” The kindness to an enemy, by seeking him out when he should come to us for reconciliation, may bring upon his head fires of repentance and sorrow for sin that will burn up all the evil in his heart.

9-Romans 12:17 – “Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.” Love returns good for evil and brings blessing, not harm, to others (Romans 12:14; 1 Corinthians 13:5, 6; 1 Peter 3:9).

10-Luke 6:35 – “But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.” Christ’s command would not be possible if it commands people to philein their enemies, for they could not feel toward their enemies the same feeling that they have toward their families, nor is that expected.

Agapan love, on the other hand, can be and is commanded, for it is under the control of the will not the feelings. To agapan our enemies is to deal with them with respect and kindness and to accept them as the heavenly Father accepts them. The good news is that the heavenly Father is the One that gives the agapan love to those that seek it (Matthew 7:7).

In His service
BibleAsk Team

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