Revenge is a very popular movie theme. From Death Wish and Carrie to Mean Girls and Django Unchained, everyone seems to love these stories of vengeance because it fulfills one’s own desire for revenge. We have this innate nature that wants to see people pay for the pain they have caused us, don’t we?
Now we may not pick up a sword or a gun to avenge ourselves, but there are other ways we can hurt people. One of the easiest is to give them the silent treatment (spouses should be very familiar with this) or say spiteful and hurtful and unkind things to them or about them (everyone should be familiar with this!).
But why? Because revenge is the way of the world. We are not people of the world; we are children of God. Consequently, we should be people of mercy, not revenge. Besides, vengeance does not solve anything; it only grows the pain. You hurt me, so I hurt you back. Now you are hurt, so you hurt me even more. And it goes on and on, an escalating cycle of revenge. Gandhi understood this. “An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind,” he said. And the world is going blind. Can’t we see that? Or are we already too blind to see?
Forgiveness brings healing, both to the offender and to ourselves. It also brings peace. It isn’t easy to forgive people who have hurt us, but what helps is remembering that God has forgiven us for hurting him! In one of his letters, Paul advised his readers: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).
But, it isn’t only God who has forgiven us; people have as well. If we look at our lives, we would see that we, too, have hurt people. Many of them have forgiven us, haven’t they? I am sure we have been grateful for the peace and healing it has brought us. Shouldn’t we, therefore, extend the same courtesy to those who have hurt us?
In his famous sermon on the mount, Jesus said: do to others what you would have them do to you (Luke 6:27-31). This “Golden Rule” is absurdly simple to understand yet rarely followed because we rarely treat others as we would have them treat us. Let that change.
I know it hurts, dear friend, especially if you find yourself in the wilderness because of something someone has done. But let us rise above our base nature and show our Father in heaven that we are truly his children by forgiving our offenders.
It will also bring healing to the world.