October 12, 2020
Revenge Is Too Draining
I’ve always been a sensitive person and this was especially true during my childhood as God placed me in an environment and situations where negativity and judgment were common. The periodic emotional manipulation strained my brain. I would get so angry. Much of my physical, emotional, and psychological energy was wasted on dealing with these situations. I would fight back in various ways (some mature and some immature), try to understand why and where all these situations came from, attempt to avoid them, but persist in a “why me” attitude. All of these sucked so much life out of me. Enjoying childhood was often a difficult task.
Many of us have people in our lives who hurt us or who want to hurt us. It can range from a few hurtful words of subtle manipulation … to lies, cruelty, and vindictiveness … all the way to physical or sexual abuse. The obvious questions we ask ourselves are “Why me?” “What can I do to make them stop?” and “Why would someone do that?”
Dealing with such people extracts huge amounts of energy as we try to defend ourselves, recover from the attack, or plot and engage in possible counter attacks and retaliation … efforts to “get even.”
Much of my healing began when I realized a few facts and principles. 1. Don’t take it personally, because it is not about me. It’s that person’s problem and issue. 2. God is sovereign over all, and He is allowing this for a grand purpose, so put on His lenses. 3. Remember, the real enemy is Satan, not the people attacking you. They are just getting used by Satan, as you are at times. Pray for them to know God’s love and healing for their life. 4. Be on guard … put on the armor for the real battle. 5. Let God serve justice and deal with the offender as He sees fit to. I don’t need to worry about what payment they offender needs to pay, if at all.
You see, I don’t need to retaliate. Getting even is just an idol that takes my gaze and heart away from God. I probably need to set some healthy limits and boundaries with the offenders. But the bitterness and revenge efforts are wasted time and energy. God will take care of them as He determines because He knows all.
Today, if you harbor some unresolved anger, resentment, or bitterness, let God deal with and determine the consequences for your enemies. You do have a stewardship role and a responsibility to address your enemies (in your heart or in an actual interaction if it is safe). God promises to help the persecuted and bring judgment on those who treat others with cruelty. So focus your energy on what is going on in your heart and mind regarding your enemy. If you know someone who is being mistreated, slandered or attacked by others, send them this devotional. Spread the Word of God to give hope and peace to those in need. Whether you waste your energy on revenge or you channel it toward developing a compassionate heart (a heart after God’s heart) is your decision, so choose well.
Dear God, I come to You in need. I have people in my life who are hurting me, trying to harm me. My anger rages at the injustice of this. My natural human reaction is to take revenge … to get even. I know this is wrong and against Your Word. I release my enemies into Your care. I pray as David did to “make my enemies be like chaff before the wind, with the angel of the Lord driving them away.” Help me, Lord, to remember that it is not the opinion of others that I must focus on. Give me strength in the battle against the evil one who wants to use this persecution to pull me away from You, to distort my lenses, and sidetrack me with stinky thinking. Help me see myself through Your eyes. I pray in the name of the one who teaches me to love my enemies, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
Contend, O LORD, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me. Take up shield and buckler; arise and come to my aid. Brandish spear and javelin against those who pursue me. Say to my soul, “I am your salvation.” May those who seek my life be disgraced and put to shame; may those who plot my ruin be turned back in dismay. May they be like chaff before the wind, with the angel of the LORD driving them away; may their path be dark and slippery, with the angel of the LORD pursuing them. Psalm 35:1-6
But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, Matthew 5:44