Thursday, January 26, 2012

Clarifing and Simplifying My Revenge Stand

As I promised, here is my follow-up post in response to some comments, and to clarify where I stand. In this post, I’m going to give a definition of revenge and justice and give my stance on both. I’ll start off with revenge. Revenge is, according to the Encarta dictionary, ‘the desire or urge to get even with somebody’ or, ‘the punishment of somebody in retaliation for harm done.’ It says that retaliation is, ‘to deliberately harm somebody in response or revenge for a harm he or she has done.’ I’m sure that everybody can agree that these definitions are correct, and after reading it they should be able to agree with me that revenge is wrong, period. Revenge has never been right, and never will be. When god mentions revenge in the Old Testament, I think that He meant justice. Now you might say, “God never said anything he didn’t mean.” That is also correct, but do you honestly think that God carried out the revenge which was just described by the dictionary? No, I’m sure you don’t. That’s because God didn’t carry out revenge, he carried out justice. Now, I’ll give a definition of justice and we’ll establish the difference between the two.
Justice: ‘fairness or reasonableness, especially in the way people are treated or decisions are made’
Justice: ‘the legal system, or the act of applying or upholding the law’
Now, we all see justice as this, but we also see it in a little deeper sort of way. We see justice as the ‘fair and reasonable’ way of punishing criminals, e.g. they administered justice on him. I made a mistake in my last post by calling it ‘of revenge’ instead of, ‘Of Revenge and Justice’. What I was really getting at in my last post I’ll sum up in five points.

  • Revenge is wrong. Today the majority of us see revenge as an act of anger with a motive to get even. That is generally what we think of when we think of revenge. According to Leviticus 19:18, “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.”
Leviticus 19:18
You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD.
Romans 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.

  • Justice should always be performed out of righteous anger and should be well considered before any action is taken. The basis of this point lies in the definition of justice. There is a huge difference between justice and revenge. People can get easily confused by what revenge and justice really are. There are people who think they are carrying out justice but are really only feeding their pride and carrying out their revenge, and there are people who are honestly trying to establish justice. Justice must be reasonable and fair, ‘especially in the way people are treated or decisions made’. Justice should never, in my opinion, be an ‘on the spot’ action. Meaning, of course, not that some decisions should not be made hurriedly when the criminal is running away, etc. but that it should not be an act done because of the sudden urge of emotion after a death, theft, or other such things.
  • I would not set a right-or-wrong law for self-defense. This is totally in the individuals hands. We have a right to defend ourselves if we are attacked, we don’t have to let somebody come up and kill us obviously. If you think you could make a difference by sparing the other man’s life, then by all means do so. If you think that this is what you should do, go ahead. Nobody except God should judge on the subject of self-defense. Don’t go looking for trouble though. “It is an honor for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling” from Proverbs 21. Christ was killed and died for all of us. When His murderers are judged in heaven they will get their full due, he didn’t rise to defend himself.
  • Government was provided for establishing justice by God. Now, I strongly believe that many of the government’s laws about murder and adultery are too slack and that the government doesn’t always carry out its job right. But nevertheless, if everyone goes out to establish their own justice we’d be back in the chaotic days of the Wild West. If people simply hand their private revenge over to the government’s public justice, they would not have the responsibility or the weight of the decision. I also have strong beliefs on the role of government, and how it has been corrupted, I am open to that topic at any time. 
  • What is past is irrevocable. We have control of our future, and the future of the person we decide to terminate. Wrongs that have been done to us cannot be reversed. No amount of tears, threats, or revenge is going to replace what we lost or what was done. Proverbs says that it ‘is a man’s glory to overlook a fault. Make the decision to live for The One, and to let things pass. What good are you going to get out of killing the offender? At the risk of taking away his salvation? I don’t mean that murderers should be allowed to roam the streets freely, they should be punished, but don’t get involved in private quarrels. “God is the one who justifies, who is the one who condemns?” Romans 8               I hope this clarifies my stand, and I thank all the readers who read this.

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