Thursday’s Column: Carlnormous Comments
Growing up, April first was a nightmare in our house. Dale and I would plan months in advance all the pranks we would do to each other. April Fool’s Day would start with small, harmless pranks. I would put soap on Dale’s toothbrush, Dale would tape my matchbox cars to the wall. And everything would be fine…but not for very long. It always ended up getting out of hand. As the day progressed the pranks got meaner and dirtier. I’d get mad and put salt in Dale’s drink, and he would turn around and get revenge by pouring salad dressing in my shoes. I’d get even more upset and would light one of his toys on fire, and Dale would lock me in a closet. But there was one instance I can still remember clearly; it was near the end of April Fool’s Day so we were both at the peak of mean pranks. I stole Dale’s hat while we were at the park, and threw it in the pond. And Dale got his revenge by taking my brand new scooter and throwing it into the lake. It was never seen again. Needless to say, mom banned pranks on April Fool’s for the rest of our time at home.
I say all of that to illustrate the very simple point that revenge never ends well. It doesn’t cultivate relationships, and it never strengthens our influence. Romans 12:19 reads, “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
Taking revenge can be quite tempting. Our sin-fueled, human emotions will naturally push us to take revenge and to get even with those who hurt us. We want to hurt those who hurt us. We want to insult them and avenge ourselves. Why? Because if we are honest, it feels good. It feels good to brake check the person that cut us off. It feels good to insult the person that spoke rudely to us. It feels good to take revenge because. WE want to get even with others. We take revenge because we selfishly think only of ourselves and how it’ll make US feel. But if we want to be called God’s children we must leave the avenging to our Father.
As Christians we should expect the world to hurt us because it’s driven by sin. The Christian, however, shouldn’t be the same because we are led by God. Taking revenge harms our influence, and it shows that we don’t truly trust that God will avenge us. God is our avenger and we must be careful to not practice what God has rightfully claimed. By following this command, not only are we letting God take care of us, we also open the door to a healthy relationship with those in the world as well as in the Church.