Forgiveness vs. Revenge

Q: My boyfriend and I broke up recently, and it turned into a messy and painful ordeal. My friends say that I should find some way to make my former boyfriend pay for the emotional hurt he caused me. I believe in God and want to please Him by doing the right thing, but at this point I may be too upset to know what is right. How should a Christian react in a situation like mine?

A: It’s understandable that you’re shaken and unsure of how to react, considering all you’ve just been through. You’re on the right track, though, in wanting to please God by doing the right thing. How should a Christian react?–Like Christ reacted in similar circumstances. Jesus couldn’t always control what people did to Him, but He could control His reaction and how it affected His spirit–and so can we. Jesus chose to overcome evil with good, and so can we (Romans 12:21).

In His famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in Heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you?” (Matthew 5:43-46).

Later in that same sermon Jesus also explained that we will receive only as much forgiveness and mercy as we show others: “If you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:14-15).

When some of the first Christians suffered wrongdoing, the apostle Peter advised them to follow Jesus’ own example. “When you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: ‘Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth’; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously” (1 Peter 2:20-23).

Those who become bitter, yield to vengeful impulses, and try to make someone else “pay” for their hurt often never pull out of their own negative emotions. They take matters into their own hands instead of trusting God to right the wrongs, and usually end up making an even bigger mess of things. Instead of the satisfaction and surcease from pain they hope to gain, they wind up remorseful and in great need of forgiveness themselves. But those who put matters in God’s hands and trust Him to make things right in His time, those who forgive and forget, find “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7). Choose to forgive, rather than seek revenge.

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  1. Alma Velasquez
    April 22, 2014, 7:09 pm   /  Reply


  2. Kathrine
    July 20, 2014, 2:01 pm   /  Reply

    I’m having a hard time sleeping tonight when I was younger me and my brother didn’t have a close relationship with my dad. He worked all the time so we had a baby sitter witch was my step mom’s brother well around when I was 8 years old he started molesting me it went on for a few years. I ended up stop going to my dad’s house, but my mom would make me still go sometimes because I didn’t tell her what happened one day he tried to rape me and I would of most likely been raped if it wasn’t for my brother and step brothers. Of course they didn’t know what happened or going on because I lied about it. No one knew what was going on or what happened I was to scared to say anything. Finally in 8th grade I couldn’t take the pain and secrets I have kept and hid. So I talked to a teacher who helped me tell my mom. My mom told my dad. I really never talked to my dad about it. Well I’m 24 now and I forgiven him, but sometimes it feels that I haven’t fully forgiven him because I’ll think about it or have a bad dream about it and all the pain and suffering I went through comes back. I also then start thinking what if it didn’t happen would I have had a better relationship with my dad would he have been in my life more and then I wonder if I’m to blame for everything and for my brother not being close to my dad.

    • Tracy
      March 17, 2017, 9:48 am   /  Reply

      Kathrine, I too was molested and I can assure you that none of this is your fault! You are also not at fault for your Dad and Brother not having a relationship. That is something they have to work out among one another. You were put on Earth not to be abused and made to feel poorly about yourself but, to be respected and cherished. Bless You!

  3. Winston Samuel
    September 15, 2014, 8:54 am   /  Reply

    Thank you for this is the way God want us to live

  4. July 28, 2016, 4:25 am   /  Reply

    We wonder why God didnt stop it before it happens. I have friends it is very hard to gi through I have heard of nightmares and sometimes we block it out. Jesus was there when I couldnt feel Him.

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