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     Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. Rom. 12:19

Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice. Prov. 24:17

Dear heavenly Father, I relish the taste of wasabi-kissed soft-shell crab sushi, of a seared-to-perfection rib eye steak, of fresh pistachio gelato, dribbled with a few extra pistachios and a little hot fudge. But I’m just as capable of savoring the taste of revenge, seasoned with spiteful retaliation, topped off with the gravy of extreme retribution—when the bad guy gets it even worse than he gave it. Alas, I’m in constant need of your grace to be as work in my heart.

I know that it’s good to long for and to work for justice, and to live for the Day of ultimate justice. But I need and I must heed your warning to avoid a vengeful spirit, like I would run from coiled rattlesnakes, toxic fumes, or E. coli-poisoned waters.

No matter what the provocation—from a personal “dissing,” to evil parading its hatred of beauty—you are telling me I have no right to revenge, no right to gloat when an enemy falls, no right to get back at or to get even with anybody.

Father, I’m so glad you didn’t “get even” with me, for all the ways I rebelled (and do rebel) against you; for all the ways I’ve chosen my gain over your glory; for all the ways I’ve misrepresented you to the world, even to my own heart. You didn’t get even; you got generous. May the cross of Jesus keep me humble, patient, and expectant of the Day of consummate justice. I don’t want to waste one more self-absorbed moment relishing personal revenge. There are much healthier things to taste and savor. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus’ merciful and mighty name.



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Scotty Smith

Scotty Smith is the founding pastor of Christ Community Church in Franklin, Tennessee. You can follow him on Twitter.

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