Dear Revenge {Because We’d All Like to Get Even} {14 of 31 Days of Letters}

Dear Revenge,

I was inclined to seek you.  My nature – my flesh – wanted nothing more than to survey the past two years, make a list, and set you into motion. One Facebook post with names could correct so much.

It’s tempting to engage with you.  Tempting to list names and offenses.

Why?

Because it’s hard to hear the rumors and speculation about your life from those you thought loved you.  It’s hard to remain silent when you know truth.  It’s hard to see others happy at your expense.

Relationships.  Life. They’re hard. So, I thought I could clarify. Explain. Defend.  {Avenge.}

And a few times, I chose you, revenge.  I confronted and shared names.  In fact, at one time, you plagued my thoughts.  I’d sit and think of ways to use you best.  To make those who hurt me suffer too.  I had decided…the next time someone says, “How are you doing?” I plan to give an honest answer.  Isn’t honesty the best policy?  {Insert wrong motives and much ick here.}

I considered only including the inclusive and always excluding the exclusive.  I wanted them to know how it felt to be left out as they so easily ignored and rejected others.  How it felt to watch their chumminess with those who had hurt me so deeply.

Yet.

Nothing about those plans ever set right in my heart.  The minute I’d be ready to share or confront or post…nothing. I simply could not do it.  You’d be right on the tip of my tongue, revenge.  One well-placed truth, and I’d be even – and you knew it.

You knew how to keep me drowning in the “not fairs” and “what ifs.”

Still.  Day by day I vented to and processed with the few who knew, but remained silent among others.

I refused you, revenge.  Sometimes it was second by second, minute by minute.  {Sometimes it is still second by second, minute by minute.}

All times it was only by His grace that I never published the post or finished the sentence.  It was only by His grace on me that I smiled and remembered who I am – that I am His.  And it was only by His grace that I am forgiven for the times I slipped up and said too much or spewed hate.

It is only by His grace that I say to you, revenge:  you are not mine.  You are His.  He will employ you on my behalf someday.  I don’t need to hurl you in the direction of my enemies because He has already won the battle.

What others meant for evil, He can turn for good.

I am no longer a victim, preoccupied those who discarded me and pondering why.  Instead, I choose joy, knowing my exclusion is irrelevant because I am included in the best group of all:  God’s children.

I am His.  I am part of His kingdom, His chosen children.  The kindness and approval of others would be nice, but they’re not necessary.  Their apologies would be helpful to my heart, but they’re not essential to my forgiveness of them or His forgiveness of me.

I reject you, revenge, because I know who goes before me and I know who stands behind:  The God of angel armies.  I rest in knowing I am forgiven by His grace – a forgiveness and grace available to me and my worst enemies equally.

That’s the God I serve.  A loving and just God.

So, I walk away from you,  revenge, enveloped in the peace that comes from knowing Jesus is Lord.  Not you.  Not them. Not this world.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:  “If your enemy is hungry, feed him;   if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.  In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”  21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12: 13-41

My motive – my heart – will be love, not appearances or “supposed to’s.”  I will see each “enemy” as an image bearer of Christ.  Living in harmony as far as it depends on me.  Overcoming evil with good.  Repaying no one for wrongs either real or perceived.

And, His grace will be sufficient – always.

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Friends,

Have you been wronged?  Excluded?  Made fun of?  Gossiped about?  Do people believe things about you that you know are not true?  Have you suffered at the hands of others – perhaps intentionally – perhaps unintentionally?

It hurts, huh?  I acknowledge your pain and the injustice.  I pray for your heart and healing.  But, I ask…and this is a VERY hard ask…would you begin to let it go?  {Speaking to myself here too.}  Your Creator will avenge each wrong on your behalf.  He promises.

Your Savior knows much about being “wronged”  and blamed for things He did not do.  In fact, He’s an expert.  So, we can learn how to react by following his example:

When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats.  Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.  “He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. 1 Peter 2: 23-24

Let’s imitate Him. (1 Corinthians 1:11).

Much love,

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