Revenge and Vengeance
We are taught not to commit revenge. Personal vengeance is illegal. We are required to allow the proper authorities to bring justice. If we strike out in revenge to kill someone accused of killing a loved one, we will likely be punished for murder ourselves.
But happens when a country is attacked? If a people group/country kills citizens of another country, retribution is expected. Quick, harsh and deliberate punishment is expected. The latest reaction comes from France for the attacks on Paris.
Does retaliation bring peace? Does it bring justice? Is a government retaliating violence any different than an individual seeking revenge and vengeance?
What would have happened if the USA hadn’t invaded Afghanistan following the 9/11 attacks? Would we have experienced more peace or less? Were our actions simply vengeance or were they righteous actions to protect our country from further attacks?
Are we killing enemies before they kill (as we attempted in Iraq) or are we killing out of revenge and vengeance? If we are seeking vengeance, who is in authority to judge it? Is government vengeance righteous or evil? Is it helpful or hurtful? Does it lead to peace or more violence?
Are we as Christians more at peace by defending ourselves and protecting others or are we more at peace by allowing God to be our defender? Are we at peace when we live in fear? Is fear motivating us to defend ourselves? Can we stand and worship in God’s peace while preparing to protect ourselves with violence?
19 Don’t take revenge, dear friends. Instead, let God’s anger take care of it. After all, Scripture says, “I alone have the right to take revenge. I will pay back, says the Lord.”