KEY SCRIPTURE 1 Samuel 15:1-3 Samuel also said unto Saul, The Lord sent me to anoint thee to be king over his people, over Israel: now therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the words of the Lord. Thus saith the Lord of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt. Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.
Deuteronomy 32:35a To me belongeth vengeance and recompence; their foot shall slide in due time: Romans 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
Vengeance is not a characteristic we're born with. It is a learned behaviour we pick up as we do life. Some adopt it early for varying reasons, while in others we rarely see it, if ever.
Should we have a taste for vengeance, we would want to be rid of it as quickly as possible, like a terminal disease. For indeed it is.
There are conditions in life we don't choose. Our conception, birth, DNA, rearing, parents, and born or early acquired disabilities are specifics we have no control over. But for most of us, once we're of age, choices like remaining custodians of vengeance become ours.
Vengeance in human hands is a weapon. Sometimes used face-on, but mostly from the darkness of alleyways. But the thoughts themselves come from the dark alleys of the heart. This self-poisoning accessory has a flavour of satisfaction that makes users not sorry for what they did. That is because pride is the undercarriage of this vehicle hauled behind them on their journey. When needed, out of its trunk they select the tool of purpose for the current issue, whether a club or fist, a statement, or even passive-aggressive silence. What is behind the calculating cruelty of vengeance? "Someone will pay for how I feel!" Because the hope of human revenge is an injury.
Users can hold onto revenge for years, hoping a day will come when they can personally dispense it, finally tasting the bittersweetness of their interpretation of justice. But as the saying goes, it's like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.
When the Lord says to love their enemies, they say, No!, NOT THIS ENEMY!
When the Lord says to do good to them that hate you, They say, NO! My pain is greater than your commands.
When the Lord says to pray for those who despitefully use and persecute you, they refuse. The hatred (they call it pain) runs too deep, and they cherish retribution.
And when God says they need to do those things above to be the children of their Father in heaven (because), He makes the sun rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the just and unjust. They don't want any sun shining on those who have hurt them.
Rather than let God heal them, they show resistance, getting caught in that repetitive cycle, their vessel never emptying of the brine of wounds. The Holy Spirit finds it very difficult to reign over such people or lead them.
The human being cannot handle revenge. It is too powerful for the human heart, which God made. The overpowering cyclical aspect is why He tells us to leave vengeance on His desk. "I'll deal with it personally!" He says.
The problem with that for users is they don't think God will do a good enough job—as good as they might do. Worse, He might forgive the other person or leave the punishment for months or years, which doesn't help their longing for triumph. They want to occupy all three seats in the courtroom—one as judge, one as a prosecutor, and the third as a spectator.
In our key scripture, God, through Samuel, tells King Saul to utterly slaughter the Amalekites because of what they did to Moses and the Israelites years before in the desert.
Do you know how long God waited to deliver His judgment or vengeance? Around 400 years. By then, all the Israelites who wanted to see God's punishment upon their enemies had died years before. Therefore, a hating and vengeful heart was pointless.
God doesn't forget, but His timing may not fit our schedule. Furthermore, if He sees us desiring revenge or anything similar, He may reverse His decision. After all, He is the Judge, and apportions righteous judgement within which may be His vengeance if it's appropriate. But it is never unrighteous.
Proverbs 24:17-18 states, Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth: Lest the Lord see it, and it displease him, and he turn away his wrath from him.
There is an old Christian catch-phrase, "Let Go and let God!" It is so important for our brain patterns and heart freedoms to tear up the I.O.U.'s and learn forgiveness. God told us to leave those things with Him for our own spiritual and mental health. Dropping all revenge and long-term hatred and replacing them with a clean heart and pure motives befits a child of God. Jesus didn't die so we could purposefully keep selected sins hidden inside. He died to set us free—completely free to live a peaceful life. His death and resurrection allow us to give it all to a God who loves us, to empty our hearts of all the rubbish and weights that so quickly take us over. It's taxing to hate. It's a burden.
God dispensed even judgment, where the punishment always fits the crime, and mercy is the foundation of His courtroom. We must remain mindful and thankful that it is and learn to drop all charges against others as He has so graciously done with us.
My Lord, vengeance brings stress, anger and bitterness, so please look into my heart to see if I have any, and help me be rid of it in Jesus' name. Thank you.
Photo by Max Kleinen