Serving Up Revenge

January 28, 2021
Volume 25, Number 4

An old adage advises that “Vengeance is a dish that is best served cold.” The idea is that a person should wait for a time before taking revenge for some injury or injustice. In that way you’ll have more time to perfect your plan to get even.

The San Antonio Zoo has come up with another way to serve up revenge. For a $5 donation you can name a cockroach after your ex-significant other. Breakups often leave deep wounds, but perhaps you can soothe your hurt by knowing that a cockroach bearing the name of that ex will soon be in the stomach of an animal. If the pain is especially deep, $25 will put the name of your ex on a frozen rat.

This approach to cold revenge apparently appeals. The website for the zoo announces that the program is “back by popular demand” just in time for Valentine’s Day. For those who are herbivores, $5 will have that despised name applied to a vegetable.

Francis Bacon made this observation about human nature: “A man that studieth revenge keeps his own wounds green.” In other words, seeking revenge rarely leads to a better state of mind.

For an example of revenge gone wrong look at Haman in the book of Esther. Haman, who was a top official for the King of Persia, developed a deep hatred for Mordecai, simply because Mordecai would not bow down to him. Haman plotted how to get rid of this Jew (and all Jews in the process), and had a gallows built on which to hang him.

By chapter 7 of Esther, however, Haman’s plans unraveled, and here was the outcome: “So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then the king’s wrath subsided.” All of Haman’s plans for vengeance fatally backfired.

Jesus knew that people struggle with hatred. Here is His advice for such situations: “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good for those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). This is a hard command to follow – until we consider the alternative.

Romans 12:17-19 should be considered before preparing your dish of revenge: “Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine. I will repay,’ says the Lord.”

Has someone wronged you? Yes, it hurts, and our baser instincts cry out for justice. But the Lord knows best when and how to dispense justice. Let’s leave it to Him.

Come to the light God offers! Study His word, the Bible. Worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24). Get in touch with us if you’d like to discuss these ideas further.


Copyright, 2021, Timothy D. Hall. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the New King James Version (Copyright, 1990, Thomas Nelson, Inc.).

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