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Revenge in the Bible
Christ's Teachings on Revenge


The new testament of the Bible stresses multiple times through Jesus' teachings that equaling one evil act with another is unacceptable. The strong message that revenge should never be taken is illustrated in several Bible passages, specifically in the New Testament.
The first example is in the Gospel of Matthew when Jesus specifically speaks about retaliation against others. Jesus leaves no confusion in his explanation and guidelines for seeking revenge. He teaches that, "Offer no resistance to one who is evil When someone strikes you on your right check turn the other one to him as well." Matthew 5:39. In this situation Jesus hopes to teach that you should not attempt to act with vengeance against someone who harms you. This also introduces a popular theme within the New Testament, which is to act as a pacifist in trying times.
In the writings of Peter, the anti revenge message is again present. When speaking of Jesus, Peter writes, "When he was insulted, he returned no insult; when he suffered, he did not threaten; instead he handed himself over to one who judges justly." 1Peter 2:23. Once again passive action is advocated as it clearly states that Jesus never returned an evil deed of another, but sought the power of God. The message this passage holds is, not to get caught up in unjust and harmful acts of others for the Lord will always judge you justly. It attempts to give comfort to those you have suffered, and gives encouragement not to retaliate against these sinful actions.
In the Gospel of Luke, a story of Jesus' ability to abstain from vengeful action is shared. As Jesus was traveling to Jerusalem, he planned to travel through a Samaritan village, and send a messenger there to prepare for his arrival. The messenger discovered that the Samaritans "would not welcome him because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem." Luke 9:53. Upon this, Jesus' disciples James and John asked if the village should be consumed by fire form heaven for not welcoming him. Jesus "rebuked them, and they journeyed to another village." Luke 9:55. In this situation Jesus did not even seek vengeance when Samaritans refused to welcome him. This parable exemplifies Jesus' strong belief in acting as a pacifist, and not submitting to the sin of seeking revenge.
In Romans, the author makes perhaps the strongest argument in the New Testament against seeking revenge. Hear it is stated, "Do not repay anyone evil for evil; be concerned for what is noble in sight of all." Romans 12:17. Hear the author calls Christians duty to be noble, and act in the sight of all. This verse calls Christians to act as role models for others when he urges "be concerned for what is noble in sight of all". One verse later the author pleads, " Do not look for revenge but leave room for the wrath" Romans 12:19. This helps to remind Christians that in the end God will act against those who sin, and call for us to be idle so God can punish those who sin against us.
The theme of God punishing those who seek revenge is explained in Ezekiel, as he talks about the Philistines. Ezekiel says, "Because the Philistines have acted revengefullytherefore thus says the Lord God: See! I am stretching out my hand against the Philistines." Ezekiel 25:15-16. This verse gives the ultimate reason not to seek revenge, because will punish you if you do.
Overall, the New Testament provides many details in both the Gospels, and in multiple books that vengeance is viewed as sinful. This is shown through parables, direct messages of Jesus, and the direct words of the Lord.

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