Guy movies and even chic flics often have vengeance as a theme. Its a good feeling. Someone does someone wrong. The smart, manipulative girl finds the perfect way to make sure the other girl gets her “come-uppin’s.” Or Sylvester Stallone gets his over-the-hill commandos together and exacts severe punishment on the bad guys.
Its a gut-level thing. Its what we think we would like to do if we could. Oh, come on, you’ve felt too. Right?
Some take it to the next level. They learn martial arts or handling of a weapon. Some even go looking for an opportunity to use it.
Our friends’ daughter recently married. She and her new husband exited a major league baseball game. Four inebriated guys made lewd comments toward the young bride. Her husband told them to back-off. Their beating put him in ICU.
Now, that’s sad and extreme. But we often take offense at the slightest turn of phrase and hold a grudge for long time. Little things can do it.
But as I read my Bible, holding on to bitterness, unforgiveness, and grudges is very harmful spiritually, physically, and psychologically.
Boy, Jesus could turn a phrase couldn’t he! He hit the nail on the head. When seemingly trapped by a hard question, “What’s the greatest commandment, Jesus?”
“Ha Ha, we’ve got him now!” they might have thought. “We’ve been debating this one forever and with all the thousands of choices and opinions, he will surely offend someone!”
That gives me pause. Think about it, they tried to trap GOD!? Yeah, right! Anyway, He said that to “Love God” is the first command. But then He surprised them further and gave the second also, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Wow, genius! How did He pull THAT our of thin air. He didn’t. He had already said it centuries prior.
The context of this command is very interesting to me. It was given in the context of getting revenge and holding a grudge. Check it out …
“You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the Lord.” Leviticus 19:18 ESV
Father, we deserve your greatest revenge possible for our sin against You. Thank-you for your forgiveness. Thank-you for sending Jesus, Your one-of-a-kind Son, to be our perfect sacrifice. We worship You. Please give us your divine ability to forgive those who trespass against us so that we may be forgiven in the same way we forgive others.