A Guide to Christian Revenge

A Guide to Christian Revenge

On Monday we moved into a new home. When we arrived the place was a disgusting mess. Elise collected a pile of dog fur while crawling around the house. The bathrooms were gross. I was ticked. I had a brilliant idea for how to get back at the previous owner. I decided to pay the cash portion of what we owed for certain items (several hundred dollars) in coins.

On the way to the bank I told my dad the brilliant idea and he quickly reminded me that I am a follower of Jesus. (After 34 years I still forget on a daily basis.) Ugh. As I sat pouting about the standard Jesus calls me to uphold this line from the Apostle Paul popped into my head:

If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. (1 Cor. 15: 19)

A house covered in dog fur is nothing compared to genocide, rape, and the likes. I really don’t have much to complain about. But the truth is the same in whatever the situation, big or small – we live in a broken world of self-interest and pride and revenge. If this messed-up world were all I was living for I’d be a fool to not partake in all that madness. It’s seemingly the only way to avoid being taken advantage of.

But I’m called to rise above and live like Jesus. That means I operate under a whole other set of standards. Better standards. Standards that play for the long game rather than the gain of instant gratification. Those standards may require surrendering some ‘rights’ I have here and now.

There is no such thing as Christian revenge. There is only sacrifice, surrender, and joy that comes when we choose to take Jesus at his word and “bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” (Matt. 5:44)

I have to constantly remind myself that when I have the courage to live my life by Jesus’ standards I win, even when it seems like I’m being taken advantage of.

The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried. – G.K. Chesterton