Doing an injury puts you below your enemy; revenging one makes you but even with him; forgiving one sets you above him. Those words, penned centuries ago by Benjamin Franklin, are oozing with wisdom. Revenge, that burning desire for retaliation and retribution, is one of the most natural, and destructive forces among all human responses. Be it among siblings or nations, the tendency to lash out when wronged, to explode in anger, or to stew in bitterness when we are hurt, betrayed, wronged, or deceived is a tough cycle to break. But as we will see today, our response is critical to our own spiritual success.
If ever a man had the right to avenge himself, it was David, the shepherd boy of Bethlehem. Though anointed by Samuel to succeed King Saul to the throne of Israel, David remained loyal to Saul, serving him faithfully, and fighting the nation’s enemies with unwavering devotion and courage. In return for his loyalty, David would be the target of Saul’s relentless wrath. In a jealous frenzy, Saul puts David’s life in danger on multiple occasions, but David never takes the revenge bait, even when given clear opportunities to avenge himself. Instead, David places his fate, and Saul’s, in God’s hands, boldly declaring, “The LORD judge between me and thee, and the LORD avenge me of thee: but mine hand shall not be upon thee.” I place my life in Your hands, my God; You see all; I will put Saul’s fate in Your divine hands.
On the other side of the spectrum we find Samson, a man of physical strength, but spiritual weakness. Samson would spend a great deal of energy avenging himself, as we read that his “anger was kindled” in response to a silly riddle. We see this mighty judge explode in emotions as he declares, “though ye have done this, yet will I be avenged of you.” You don’t know with whom you are dealing; I am the epitome of strength, and I will get even! But his temper never provided a solution to his problems, it only served to complicate them. We would watch him die a lonely death in one final act of revenge on his part.
What is my response when someone wrongs me? Do I treat both friend and enemy with the same grace and mercy afforded to me through the cross at Calvary? Do I extend the same forgiveness to those who have harmed me just as a holy God has extended to a sinful wretch like me? Be the one to break anger’s destructive cycle in your interactions today.
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.<div class='sharedaddy sd-block sd-like jetpack-likes-widget-wrapper jetpack-likes-widget-unloaded' id='like-post-wrapper-164683012-3050-6391daf297542' data-src='https://widgets.wp.com/likes/#blog_id=164683012&post_id=3050&origin=wp.blog.blog.grandmasgleanings.com&obj_id=164683012-3050-6391daf297542' data-name='like-post-frame-164683012-3050-6391daf297542' data-title='Like or Reblog'><h3 class="sd-title">Like this:</h3><div class='likes-widget-placeholder post-likes-widget-placeholder' style='height: 55px;'><span class='button'><span>Like</span></span> <span class="loading">Loading...</span></div><span class='sd-text-color'></span><a class='sd-link-color'></a></div>