Share this story
Close X
Switch to Desktop Site

Revenge and the law of God

When someone does something wrong, and he or she seems to get away with it, our sense of justice rebels. Something in us knowsm that wrongdoing must be punished. When it's not, we may get angry; we may even feel that we should become a personal avenger, especially when human law and justice seem to fail.

But before we get sucked into a whirlpool of personal retaliation, we should realize that revenge is evil's way of pulling us down. We can do little good for the victims of injustice if we ourselves are caught up in anger.Hatred is fatal to happiness, health, and ultimately life itself.

About these ads

Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, makes this appeal: "Hate no one; for hatred is a plague-spot that spreads its virus and kills at last. If indulged, it masters us; brings suffering upon suffering to its possessor, throughout time and beyond the grave." n1 Clerly, indulding hate is no trivial matter. When someone takes upon himself the role of personal avenger, he inevitably is punished. As christ Jesus explained, "With what judgement ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again." n2

n1 Miscellaneous Writings,m p. 12

n2 Matthew 7:2

If we return evil for evil, then evil will be our measure. If we think justice can come out of injuring others, then we will be open to injury from those who think the same. Only love and forgiveness can breek the cycle. So when we feel human law and justice have failed us, the way to bring ultimate justice is to forgive our enemies and leave their punishment to the law of God. "If you have been badly wronged," writes Mrs. Eddy, "forgive and forget: God will recompense this wrong, and punish more severely than you could, him who has striven to injure you." n3

n3 Mis.,m p. 12

No one says that such forgiveness is easy. When we are filled with anger, hatred, or soroow over wrongs done to us or those we love, our hearts may cry out for vengeance. But if we wish to bring real justice to the situation, then "love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you" n4 are the only healing solutions.

n4 Matt. 5:44

About these ads

Jesus asked no impossible thing with these words. He knew that we could not love our enemies through sheer willpower. Forgiveness doesn't mean just suppressing our emotions. If we sincerely trym to love and forgive, asking God's help, we will feel His love appearing in our hearts, healing the hatred and sorrow. As the Master promised, "if a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." n5

n5 John 14:23.

This divine presence within us is the antidote for anger and hate, the sure cure for sorrow about injustice. What's more, obedience to Christ's law of Love doesn't leave evil unpunished but hastens its destruction. Mrs. Eddy explains: "The law of Life and Truth is the law of Christ, destroying all sense of sin and death. It does more than forgive the false sense named sin, for it pursues andpunishes it, and will not let sin go until it is destroyed, -- until nothing is left to be forgiven, to suffer, or to be punished." 6

n6 No and Yes,m p. 30.

Rest assured that though for a time evil may seem to escape punishment, all wrongdoing carries within itself the seeds of destruction. We really can trust God's law of justice to rectify all wrong. This law is also a law of mercy that finally saves even the wrongdoer from his sins by reforming him. The important thing is for usm to stay free of sin -- of hatred, anger, revenge. Nothing could be more foolish than to let the sins of o thers draw us into committing sin ourselves.

Yes, it may take a struggle to forgive; we may slip back into hatred and a desire for revenge. But if we obediently persist in Jesus' words, we will feel God's love for us, and divine Love's very expression will abide in us. Then not only will we be blessed, but society will feel the healing effects of Love and the divine law of justice. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth. Psalms 37:8, 9

Follow Stories Like This
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.