"Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: 'It is mine to avenge; I will repay,' says the Lord."1
In church one Sunday the visiting speaker told how a U.S. soldier (whom I will call Ed) in Afghanistan received a "Dear John" letter from his girlfriend back home. Understandably, he was deeply hurt. To make matters worse, she asked him to return her photo as she needed it for her local newspaper to announce her engagement to another man.
The men in Ed's unit all felt for Ed and were mad at his former girlfriend, so they all gave Ed a copy of a photo of their girl friends. Ed put these in a box and mailed them to his former girlfriend with a note which said, "I'm sending you a photo of all my girlfriends and can't remember which photo is yours. So will you please take out yours and return all the rest to me."
Aha! "Good for Ed," I want to say! Vengeance can taste so sweet—at least for the immediate present. I know at times when I have felt that someone has been critical of me and their cutting remarks have cut deeply, I want to strike back and let them have a verbal blast packaged in humor/sarcasm, and have to pray for grace so I won't do what I want to do … or at least say what I'd really like to say!
However, as the Bible reminds us, vengeance is best left to the Lord and judgment best left to the Holy Spirit. For some of us, including me, we will need to be "growing in grace" for the rest of our lives.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to keep growing in grace so that I will not lash out and hurt others when they have hurt me. Help me to turn the other cheek, and always be as Christ to those I find unlovable. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."
1. Romans 12:19 (NIV).