It is natural to want vengeance when someone intentionally hurts you and shows no remorse. Here are a few other possible circumstances where you might want vengeance: when an innocent individual is hurt; when someone acts in an inconsiderate way; when the criminal steals from you; when you get hurt in an accident through negligence of another; when someone causes damages and then lies about it; or when someone says something hurtful to you and you want to say something hurtful back. Perhaps there are other circumstances you can think of where someone hurt you and you wanted to respond with vengeance.
But what does the Bible say about vengeance? Romans 12:17-21 “Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. Therefore ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; lf he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Following are seven reasons not to take vengeance.
First, God is impartial in his blessing to mankind. Matthew 5:44-45 “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” Just as God sends his blessings on the evil and on the good, so also He wants you to bless and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you as well as those who are your friends and loved ones.
Second, you are to live in peace with others. Romans 12:18 “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” When you take vengeance, you are engaging in a battle. The person you took vengeance upon will want to take vengeance on you for what you just did, and back and forth it may go. You are not living at peace with others when you take vengeance.
Third, vengeance is God’s. 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.” By taking vengeance, you are taking over God’s role. God has not given you that right. He is the one who takes vengeance; since He is all knowing, He will take the appropriate vengeance at the appropriate time. It is not your right to take vengeance.
Fourth, you may heap coals of fire on his head. Romans 12:20 “Therefore ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.’” Burning coals heaped on a man’s head would imply mental pain. When you take vengeance, he feels justified in his actions and has no mental pain. However, the effect of you returning good for evil may be that his conscience will convict him of the evil of his conduct and he may be fearful of God’s displeasure; this may lead to repentance.
Fifth, when you take vengeance, you are repaying evil with evil. That means you have just committed an evil act. Romans 12:17, 21 “Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” God’s way for you is to overcome evil with good. Ultimately, good is more powerful than evil.
Sixth, the Lord will reward you for not taking vengeance. 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.” There is no reward for you when you take vengeance. You will receive a reward only for returning good for evil.
Seventh, the Lord may withhold his vengeance if you take it instead. Proverbs 24:17-18 “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; lest the Lord see it, and it displease Him, and He turn away His wrath from him.” The point is that when you take over God’s role of vengeance, you have the potential of messing up God’s purpose and plan and He may turn away his wrath from the one who has hurt you.
Be assured that God will take vengeance for you at the appropriate time. 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10 “Since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed.”
Do not take vengeance by word or by deed. Your role is to bless your enemy and pray for them. Return good for evil. God’s role is to take vengeance and repay those who trouble you. Therefore, when someone hurts you, leave it in God’s hands.