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Overcoming the Revenge Trap | Kenny Folarin

 

One of the greatest virtues of Christianity that separates it from other belief systems is that we are taught not to avenge ourselves. Rather, we have the commandment to love all men; and this happens to be God’s nature and it is not common amongst people because human nature naturally wants to revenge for the wrong meted out to it. It is natural to seek justice when we are offended.

On the subject of offense, there are two classes of people; one being those genuinely mistreated and secondly, those who assume they have been mistreated whereas they haven’t been. It is natural to seek justice when someone offends you. Being offended is like when you’re owed money and you feel you should be paid. That’s why the Old Testament has an interesting law of relationships that stipulates ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’. Matthew 5:38; holds Jesus coming in to change the rule of the game; challenging us to spiritual and emotional maturity. He was admonishing us not to seek revenge and in every situation we should leave God to be the judge. When we demand for payback possibly in our thoughts and actions after being offended then we have taken up the position of being the judge in that situation. Jesus is saying “leave me to be the judge in every situation and trust me to be the right and unbiased judge”. This is Jesus calling up higher to the point of maturity where we understand the spiritual law of forgiveness; choosing to forgive no matter the situation.

Whenever you choose to forgive those who have offended you, you do more good to yourself than the people who have offended you. We need also to stop recollecting offenses from the region of forgetfulness. We may want to excuse ourselves from forgiving because we think the gravity of the offense was great but the truth remains that there’s no sin God hasn’t asked that we forgive others.

When offenses come, our guiding thought should be that every human performs to the best of their knowledge per time. Hence, excuse people on the grounds that if they know better they’ll do better. When the desire for revenge is not dealt with it develops into bitterness in our hearts; bitterness is unfulfilled revenge which is produced when revenge is not fulfilled to the degree that we want it. When bitterness is nurtured, it grows deep roots downwards and then grows upwards and brings forth fruits like strife, division, malice, hatred and sometimes murder. We should know that as captured in scripture, we cannot rule out offenses.

A good example in scripture is Joseph who had every reason to be offended over what his brothers and Potiphar’s wife did to him rather; he refused to be offended but chose to love. Ephesians 4:31-32; says Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. Make no room for grudges and offenses. The longer a grudge stays in your heart, the more hardened and bitter your heart becomes; bitterness has cracked up many homes. God expects our hearts to be sensitive to Him. Don’t wait for an apology before forgiving because God set an example through Christ dying for us while we were ungodly.

A few important steps from Matthew 5 to help us with the move towards reconciliation and deal with bitterness: Pray for the person who offends you. Ask for the person’s forgiveness. Carryout acts of kindness towards the person who offends you. Leave vengeance to God.

Romans 12:18 quotes; if it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Let this be our guiding principle.

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