Rom 12:19 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.”

There is a reason that we are prohibited as individuals from taking revenge on someone. We are not to do so even in regard to our enemies. Why? Because human beings are not qualified to dish out revenge. We do not send people to hell – only the Lord does. Inevitably anyone who tries to bear the sword of revenge will be consumed by it himself.

We know people who have been grievously wronged by very evil people. Many of you have. But whenever I see a lust for vengeance in, for example, an abuse victim, I know they are going down a dangerous and sinful path. A lust for revenge is consuming. In the very next verses Paul says:

Rom 12:20-21 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” (21) Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Don’t be overcome by evil. And that is where the road to vengeance takes us. No wonder the Lord tells us to leave vengeance to Him. He promises to pour out His wrath upon the wicked. And He will do so in perfect justice.

Another thing happens when a person craves revenge and takes steps to get it for himself. They become a toxic person themselves. I know this by hard experience. People who are characterized with a craving for revenge will ultimately turn on others as well. The quest for vengeance increasingly consumes them. It drives them and they become characterized by it.

We do not have to become our enemy’s best buddy. We aren’t required to just “let bygones be bygones.” To do so would be unwise when it comes to someone who is an enemy and desires to destroy us. But if we find an enemy laying in a ditch beside his/her wrecked car, we do not look and say “good! You got what you deserve,” and then drive on. No. We stop, we render aid and thereby divine coals of judgment are heaped upon them. Sometimes even repentance might result.

If you are a victim/survivor of domestic abuse or some other heinous evil, take care. Do not be consumed by a lust for revenge. Otherwise you may just become an abuser yourself.