Hebrews 10:30-31: “For we know him who said, ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ and again, ‘The Lord will judge his people.’ It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

For all who think that revenge brings satisfaction of justice being served, let me burst your bubble: Taking revenge holds no blessing whatsoever. Payback time is a time of horror leaving destruction in its wake. It makes a new beginning impossible and therefore squanders all hope.

The sad truth is revenge brings nothing but gloom, doom and death. And to make matters worse, revenge does not end a bad situation once and for all. Quite the opposite is true: revenge heaps up more revenge. There is no peace to be found in paying back. Nobody gets what he or she deserves. In the end, we all overpay if we keep going down this road.

In His infinite wisdom God once said: “Leave revenge up to Me”. In other words: “Don’t go there!”

And yet, humanly speaking it’s hard to let go of the pursuit of revenge when we have tasted abuse, neglect, violation of basic human rights, even murder. “What are we supposed to do! Just sit there and do nothing?” is the outcry of the bullied, the ones taken advantage of, the people trampled upon. The cry for justice is the most basic human cry for relief. And justice we need, but the way to justice and peace is not by way of revenge.

Once we have gotten onto the bandwagon of retaliation the world bleeds out its color and all we see is black and white. We are convinced that we are right while the other party is utterly wrong and forget that we are not perfect either. God warns us not to fall into the trap of self-righteousness. Leading by example He shows us the blessings of mercy. Unlike revenge, mercy opens the door to a fresh new beginning. Debt cancellation is unfair, isn’t it? Apparently, we let someone get away with something. Well, yes – God’s mercy is outrageous and undeserved, but it is because of God’s mercies that we live.

We put the criminal justice system in place to pursue justice when rights have been violated. However, let’s not forget that this system we so heavily rely on functions as a Band-Aid and works only to a degree. The criminal justice system does not change people. Love alone is the true change agent. Love and mercy have brought us to the doorsteps of heaven – no chance in hell to get there through the pursuit of revenge.

God knows, there is no salvation in condemnation, but there is precious hope in mercy.

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