«For we know Him who said, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay’, says the Lord» (Hebrews 10:30).
Revenge is never good; it kills the soul and poisons it,» said the Don Ramon character in the famous television sitcom for children El Chavo del Ocho [The Lad from the Eight]. «Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die,» wrote William Shakespeare. Even if the desire for revenge has a deadly poison, from another point of view it could be perceived as a way of achieving equity. In this context, revenge would balance justice. It is as if applying the law «eye for eye, tooth for tooth» (Deut. 19:21) could compensate for the poor treatment.
Simeon and Levi, sons of Jacob and Leah, implemented this law. Dinah, the only daughter of the family, had been dishonored by the prince of Shechem by having sexual intercourse with her without marrying her. The brothers, outraged by the insult, asked for a dowry for their sister: the circumcision of all males of the city. As the prince was very much in love, he accepted the proposition in order to marry her, not knowing that it was a trap to kill him when he was in the worst pain. Dinah’s revenge was successful, not only with the prince, but with all the men of the city. But Simeon and Levi were condemned for violence and murder. «Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, ‘You have troubled me by making me obnoxious among the inhabitants of the land . . .and since I am few in number, they will gather themselves together against me and kill me. I shall be destroyed, my household and 1’.» (Gen. 34:30). Have you noticed how revenge created a chain of retaliation? It is not easy striking such balance!
However, the Bible suggests that we should leave revenge in God’s hands. » ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay’, says the Lord.» The God of vengeance (Ps. 94: 1) will make justice in due time (Deut. 32:35). Meanwhile, Jesus says, «But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the Other .to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also» (Matt. 5:39, 40).
Maybe the offender dishonored you. Maybe he took away your livelihood or your coat. But if you hold on to the heavenly promises, God will defend your cause and bring mercy and justice in His own time.