Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. Romans 12:17
Revenge is sweet.
How sweet? To find an answer to that question, I would encourage you to speak to Anna, a dentist in Poland. Last month, Marek, her ex-boyfriend -- the fellow who had just dumped her -- asked Anna to help him treat a toothache.
Anna decided to take the high road and treat the tooth like a professional. That was her intention.
But when Anna saw Marek in her chair, she gave him a massive dose of anesthetic and removed every tooth in his mouth. Then, having finished her work for the day, she wrapped his jaw in bandages and left her office.
As for Marek, when he awoke, he knew something wasn't quite right, but he had to get home and look in the mirror before he understood the immensity of his problem, and the intensity of his ex-girlfriend's thirst for revenge.
Yes, revenge is sweet, but it isn't necessarily God-pleasing. At least that's what Paul was trying to convey to the folks at Rome. Certainly, those Christians who were undergoing persecution for their faith had reason enough to want to give the Romans a dose of their own medicine.
"Revenge may be sweet," says Paul, "but don't you take it."
That was probably for a number of reasons. First, Paul knew a Christian with a vengeful heart was not going to be thanking the Savior for the work He had done to save us. Second, revenge-seeking Christians would not give a powerful witness to the world. Lastly, seeking revenge pretty much wipes out the words of Jesus who told us to love our enemies and do good to those who persecute us.
Now I don't know if you're one of those, "I-don't-get-mad, I-get-even" people. If you are, you might want to reevaluate and repent of your position.
Yes, revenge may be sweet but ultimately doing what the Lord has asked of us is sweeter still.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, You remained silent even though You had every reason to seek revenge on the many that railroaded You to the cross. Grant us a new heart that will forgive those who have earned our disrespect. In Your Name. Amen.
PS - And in case you're wondering how the story is turning out, Marek is planning to have dental implants; his new girlfriend dumped him and, Anna, the dentist, is being investigated for medical malpractice. (Personally, I think they're going to have a hard time finding a jury that will convict her for pulling the teeth of an ex who asks for free dental work.)
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries