There’s No Place For Vengeance

16 Sep

“An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind.”  ~ Mahatma Gandhi

The natural reaction when someone is struck by another is to return blows.  If you ever saw any altercation, you would have seen how a person’s fists are formed at the moment of being struck.  Even before they see the person who struck them, even before they assess the danger, fists are formed and hands are raised.  Internally, adrenaline raises the heart rate, the eyes hyper-focus, and the whole body gets itself ready for “fight or flight”.

As we grow older, we are taught that returning blows is not the way to solve our problems.  Some people never learn that lesson and go on in an attempt to fight their way out of situations.  However, returning blows, basically revenge of any kind, is not good.  If we are out to seek revenge, we cannot take the time to care for ourselves.  Francis Bacon once said, “A man that studieth revenge, keeps his own wounds green, which otherwise would heal.”

Revenge does not hurt another alone.  It hurts us as well.  And, it can cause the other to seek revenge, thus bringing even more hurt onto ourselves.  And if we, then, attempt to seek revenge yet again, well, you can see the vicious cycle that can easily be established in attempting to exact revenge.

Jesus told His followers to forgive.  “If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn and offer him the other.”  He knew that if His followers tried to be revenge-seekers that they would become horribly dysfunctional.  Can you imagine what kind of world — and what kind of New Testament would have been written — this would be if Jesus had instructed His followers to seek vengeance?   They would have attacked the soldiers for crucifying Jesus.  The disciples would have attempted to form an army against Rome.  They may have been destroyed or they may have destroyed Rome.  Had that been the case, someone else would have then come after them.

Cycles of hatred and vengeance are always circular.  The more one hates, the more hatred grows.  The more one seeks revenge, the deeper one gets in violence.

Peace is the only way out.  Peace and forgiveness and love.  There is no place for vengeance.

FAITH ACTION:  Pray for those who are trapped in cycles of hatred, vengeance, and violence.