What does the Bible say about vengeance? According to the Bible, vengeance belongs to God and not to us. The Bible is clear that God is the only one with the right or authority to exact vengeance, and scolds us for seeking our own vengeance by citing several key verses. These verses are an admonition to remain humble, remember the power and authority of God, and remember that vengeance is God’s business alone.
Vengeance is the expression of strong anger or hatred toward someone perceived as wronging a person or even an entire group of people, and seeking to inflict severe punishment or reparation upon them.This is the very antithesis of what the Bible calls us to do. Retribution is part of the fallen nature of man, and the Bible calls us away from this and towards forgiveness. For if we forgive others, God will forgive us – but if we don’t forgive, neither will God forgive us.
The Bible often speaks emphatically against taking vengeance into our own hands. In Romans 12:19 Paul writes, “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.’” In other words, God alone has the authority to render judgement and execution for sins against him or his people. If we take it upon ourselves to act out individually or collectively, we are usurping the exclusive role of God to act upon those who have wronged us.
The Bible also calls us to a higher standard and away from bearing grudges or bitterness and turning away from revenge. In Matthew 5:38-39 Jesus urges us to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven….”Then in Romans 12:17-21 Paul further admonishes us that instead of retaliating against someone who wrongs us, we should instead “overcome evil with good.”
Furthermore, Proverbs 25:21states “If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.”This is a difficult commandment to follow, yet it is the standard set by God. This is the counter-intuitive nature of following Jesus; the objective is not to get revenge, but to bless our enemies who have cursed us in order to display the mercy and forgiveness of God and to be an example of his love.
To be able to forgive our enemies and rely on God to exact justice requires great strength and trust. We must focus our hopes and trust on God to respond to hurt and pain caused by those who have wronged us or persecuted us. It is a difficult but vital lesson to learn in order to grow spiritually.
Sovereignty of God
The Bible clearly instructs us to leave vengeance to God; not just because it is His righteous prerogative but also because He will vindicate His people when the time is right. When God promises vengeance, that vengeance will not be in vein and will always be in accordance with His perfect will.
God always judges with justice and holiness as He is infinitely perfect and wise. We, on the other hand, are limited in power, knowledge and capacity, unable to give perfect justice and revenge. This is why God’s Word calls us to leave vengeance in His hands. He will judge and deliver justice justly, whereas our judgement would not be measured as accurately as God’s.
We can trust in God’s rule and laws recognizing that He is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and that none can resist Him or compare with Him in any way. He will not leave the guilty unpunished and will ensure justice is served, in time, without bias. As believers, this should increase our faith in Him and give us an ever brighter hope for His righteousness.
When we face vindictive people, our trust in God should be strengthened. He will turn their vindictive words into a blessing in due time (Genesis 12:3). We don’t have to take revenge, but we must stand in faith in God’s promise of justice that will be served when He deems it necessary and just.
Responding with Grace
When faced with those who seek revenge, the Scriptures want us to respond in a different way. We’re to love our neighbor and instead of paying them back with their own kind of behavior, the Lord wants us to honor Him by demonstrating grace and mercy towards them. It’s not easy to do this, and it takes a tremendous amount of faith to forgive those who have wronged us. But, this is exactly what the Lord calls us to do.
Rather than seeking revenge, Jesus tells us to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” (Matthew 5:44). Paul exhorts us to treat our enemies with kindness, doing good to those who have wronged us (Romans 12:17-21). This type of gracious response is counter-cultural and goes completely against what our flesh wants to do.
Instead of responding with revenge and violence, Jesus calls us to respond with humility and grace. We don’t have to look for revenge, and we don’t have to take matters into our own hands. Instead, we’re commanded to forgive and show mercy. This is a tall task to accomplish, but with the help of the Holy Spirit, it’s possible.
When we are persecuted or wronged, it is important for us to remember that God will take care of the unjust in His own way and time. We don’t have to worry about dispatching justice ourselves, but instead, we can entrust our concerns to God. He alone is our Judge and will avenge us with a perfect justice.
The Bible also emphasizes the importance of forgiveness as the pathway to healing from the hurt and harm of betrayal and revenge. It is only God that can bring true healing in our hearts and he does that by helping us to forgive.
We are to forgive those who have hurt us so that God will forgive us and help us to move on. Jesus said, “if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:14-15).
Forgiveness isn’t something we just say; it’s a heart attitude of refusal to take revenge or seek retribution for offenses or wrong doings we suffered. To truly forgive someone, we must stop focusing on the hurt and bitterness, and rely on the power and mercy of God. Forgiveness isn’t a sign of weakness or an excuse for bad behavior; rather, it’s about choosing to let go of the hurt and extend grace and kindness to the one who wronged us.
The joy of real forgiveness will give us a whole new outlook that will help us to put things into perspective, trust in God’s ultimate justice and turn from bitterness and unforgiveness to joy and peace.
God is Faithful to Avenge
God will avenge the wrongs He sees against us. The Bible is full of promises that even though justice may be slow to come, it will come. We don’t have to worry or be anxious; God will repay us with perfect justice.
Isaiah 35:4 promises “say to those with fearful hearts, ‘Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.’”The book of Psalms also promises that God will take care of those who are wronged in the end. Psalm 22:24 reads “For He has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.”
Psalm 94:1 states “O Lord, you who judge righteously, who tests the heart and the mind, let me see your vengeance upon them, for to you, I have committed my cause.” Although God may not take vengeance immediately, the Bible says He will avenge the wrongs done. He will take justice into His own hands and will judge every person perfectly.
God promises to avenge His people. He will vindicate their cause and will repay those who have wronged them. God is a righteous judge and He will never let injustice pass unpunished. We, however, are to remain patient and keep trusting in Him. He will make sure justice is done, and we can be assured of this truth.
The Lord Will Avenge Righteously
We need to remember that vengeance is the Lord’s business; it is His right to judge, and avenge, and none of us can compete with His perfect, all-seeing justice. In Deuteronomy 32:35-36 God clearly states “It is mine to avenge; I will repay. In due time their foot will slip; their day of disaster is near and their doom rushes upon them.”
God is a faithful Father who loves us dearly and never forgets our cries for help or the wrongs others have done to us. He loves us and is faithful to rescue us every time. Even when we don’t see justice being done in our lifetime, we can be sure that God will avenge us someday. We can rest assured that no matter how long it takes, God will repay those who have wronged us and He will ensure justice is served.
God promises to “uphold the cause of the oppressed” and “avenge the poor and needy” (Psalm 140:12). We can trust in God’s timing and His perfect justice. We must remember that our ultimate hope is not in this world or in revenge, but in God, the one who is faithful and just. His justice will come, and when it does, it will be perfect and righteous.
A husband of one wife, father of two beautiful girls, laborer of Lord, Jesus Christ, and a servant to God’s His saints. I hope to encourage you by God’s grace. Thank you for stopping by.