I’ve watched many revenge movies. They all draw the watchers into the depth of the pain of the innocent victim and bring some interesting satisfaction when the victim becomes the victor over those that have harmed him or his loved ones. I would argue that in today’s society and in the mass media (Movies & TV especially) that it believes the Bible says “vengeance is fine, sayeth the Lord.” But the truth is, the bible instructs us not to take matters into our own hands, but to entrust vengeance to the authorities who are in the hands of the Lord Himself. God promises He’ll take care of it, either now or in the future. The reminder that vengeance is the Lords appears three times in the Bible, twice in the New Testament and once in the Old Testament. Hebrews 10:30 reads, “For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” Romans 12:19 says, “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.’” These are both references to Deuteronomy 32:35 where God first said “Vengeance is mine.”

Vengeance becomes a prison cell with its own personal torture chamber for those who sentence themselves to such a fate. It might taste good for the moment, but, as C. S. Lewis said, at the feast of vengeance the carcass we end up devouring “is ourselves.” It’s like the old Amos and Andy routine. Amos asks Andy what that little bottle is he’s wearing around his neck. “Nitroglycerine,” he answers. Amos is stunned that Andy would be wearing a necklace of nitro, so he asks for an explanation. Andy tells him about a fellow who has a bad habit of poking people in the chest while he’s speaking. “It drives me crazy,” Andy says. “I’m wearing this nitro so the next time he pokes me, I’ll blow his finger off.” Job teaches us that “Anger (or resentment or revenge?) will kill the fool” (See Job 5:2).

In his usual creative wisdom, Max Lucado explains it this way: “Anger has a way of increasing in volume until it’s the only sound we hear. The louder it gets the more desperate we become. When we are mistreated, our animalistic response is to go on the hunt. Instinctively, we double up our fists. Getting even is only natural. Which, incidentally, is precisely the problem. Revenge is natural, not spiritual. Getting even is the rule of the jungle. Giving grace is the rule of the kingdom? X-ray the soul of the vengeful and behold the tumor of bitterness: black, menacing, malignant. Carcinoma of the spirit. Its fatal fibers creep around the edge of the heart and ravage it. Yesterday you can’t alter, but your reaction to yesterday you can. The past you cannot change, but your response to the past you can.”