What should replace revenge?

The Bible tells us to avoid revenge.

Rom. 12:19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord.

Genesis illustrates what our attitude should be instead of planning revenge. Jacob had lived with Laban for 20 years. During that time he had married Laban’s two daughters, fathered 11 sons, cared for Laban’s sheep, and became wealthy. After 20 years, Jacob decided to return to the land of his birth. When Jacob and Laban said goodbye, the following conversation took place. Notice how Laban appealed to God for justice.

Gen. 31:43 ¶ Then Laban replied to Jacob, “The daughters are my daughters, and the children are my children, and the flocks are my flocks, and all that you see is mine. But what can I do this day to these my daughters or to their children whom they have borne?

Gen. 31:44 “So now come, let us make a covenant, you and I, and let it be a witness between you and me.”

Gen. 31:45 Then Jacob took a stone and set it up as a pillar.

Gen. 31:46 Jacob said to his kinsmen, “Gather stones.” So they took stones and made a heap, and they ate there by the heap.

Gen. 31:47 Now Laban called it Jegar-sahadutha, but Jacob called it Galeed.

Gen. 31:48 Laban said, “This heap is a witness between you and me this day.” Therefore it was named Galeed,

Gen. 31:49 and Mizpah, for he said, “May the LORD watch between you and me when we are absent one from the other.

Gen. 31:50 “If you mistreat my daughters, or if you take wives besides my daughters, although no man is with us, see, God is witness between you and me.”

Gen. 31:51 Laban said to Jacob, “Behold this heap and behold the pillar which I have set between you and me.

Gen. 31:52 “This heap is a witness, and the pillar is a witness, that I will not pass by this heap to you for harm, and you will not pass by this heap and this pillar to me, for harm.

Gen. 31:53 “The God of Abraham and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge between us.” So Jacob swore by the fear of his father Isaac.

Gen. 31:54 Then Jacob offered a sacrifice on the mountain, and called his kinsmen to the meal; and they ate the meal and spent the night on the mountain.

Gen. 31:55 Early in the morning Laban arose, and kissed his sons and his daughters and blessed them. Then Laban departed and returned to his place.

Laban knew that he and Jacob would be living over a 7 days journey apart from one another. Laban realized he could not protect his daughters and that he could not control Jacob; therefore, Laban accepted the reality that he had to trust God to be the guard and the judge. That is what we need to do when we have been wronged and want revenge. Instead of plotting and exacting revenge, we need to trust that ultimately God will bring justice. There is a time and place for us to confront sinners and those who have wronged us, but when confrontation does not bring resolution, we need to remember that God knows everything that happened, and He will deal with it in His way and in His time.


Further Reading

Does God need our help?

Do you want revenge?

Why does God tolerate evil people?


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“Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.”