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What the Bible Says About Revenge

Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.


The Bible is the Christian instruction book for righteous living. Some people seek to get revenge on those who have hurt, harmed or done them wrong. However, the Bible has something different to say about getting even.

Revenge: Definition

Revenge is defined in the dictionary as the act of causing hurt or harm to someone who has caused hurt or harm to you. Some synonyms for revenge include the following words:

  • avenge
  • vengeance
  • retribution
  • retaliation
  • reprisal
  • requital
  • recrimination
  • redress
  • payback
  • getting even
  • "an eye for an eye"

"Do Not Take Revenge"

We might believe that those who hurt us deserve to be punished. However, the Bible speaks against us taking revenge on someone. According to Romans 12:19, Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord."

This verse means revenge should be left in the hands of God. Paul tells us not to seek revenge. Instead, we should leave it up to God to repay those for mistreating us. Besides, we should forgive rather than seeking revenge.

Forgiveness is better than revenge for several reasons.

  • Forgiveness will break the cycle of revenge and retaliation.
  • Forgiveness is the path to mutual reconciliation.
  • Your enemy might wonder why you offer forgiveness and feel ashamed enough to change his ways.
  • Revenge will hurt you just as much as it hurts your enemy.
  • Forgiveness will free you of a heavy burden.
  • Revenge continues the cycle while forgiveness breaks the cycle of hurts and wrongdoings.
  • God's vengeance on something will hurt those who deserve it and perhaps tll them a lesson that causes them to change. Our vengeance only continues the cycle without a lesson learned.

"Love Instead of Seeking Revenge"

It is human nature to want to get even when we feel that we have been wronged. However, there is a more righteous way to deal with the hurt.

Jesus compared the law of Moses to a better way.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also." (Matthew 5:38-39)

Jesus indicated that it is more important to love those who wronged us than to do to them what they did to us. We should not keep score or use the tit for tat method to deal with our enemies. Instead, we are to love our enemies and turn them over to God.


Why God's Vengeance Is More Effective

You might think you could do a good job of getting even with your enemy, but God can do it much better. God's repayment for the wrong done to us is much more powerful and more effective than anything we could even think of doing to them.

God knows exactly what our enemies deserve. He also knows what should be done to get our enemies to change their wicked ways.

In many of the Psalms, David turned his enemies over to God. In the Contemporary English Version of the Bible, the psalmist said, "LORD God, you punish the guilty. Show what you are like and punish them now" (Psalm 94:1).

We should do the same instead of trying to get revenge on our enemies ourselves.

God Is More Qualified

God is more qualified to repay your enemies. That's because God's acts are based on His holiness, righteousness, and justice. Our acts of revenge might not be based on those characteristics. Besides, when we revenge others, they will revenge us back and the cycle never stops.

God will right every wrong that we can't. When we attempt to repay evil for evil, we are doing to someone exactly what was done to us. Because God is a just and fair God, He will dole out the exact payment to our enemy which will be transformative.

Hopefully, this article explains why we should not seek revenge. Instead, we should do what the Bible tells us to do. We should leave it up to God for He will repay.


Rani on September 27, 2018:

Yes, revenge seems so satisfying in the moment to the ego, however in the long run you realize the very act you disliked, or condemned, i.e what someone did to you that you did not like, you are inflicting on the other person, in what way am I different then? As the saying goes an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth leads everyone to blindness and being toothless!

Margaret Minnicks (author) from Richmond, VA on September 26, 2018:

Thanks, Tiffany, for reading and commenting on my article about letting God handle our enemies instead of us trying to do it ourselves. It is helpful to know God will repay our enemies for the hurt they have caused us.

Tiffany Williams Andrews on September 26, 2018:

Ms. Minnicks,

My mother sent this to me this afternoon as a gentle reminder. My mother Wanda Scott has given me wisely christian council and has been a great role model for issues I struggle with. Thank you for writing this article and Mom thank you for sharing.

Margaret Minnicks (author) from Richmond, VA on September 26, 2018:

Ellison, you are absolutely right. We need to remember all those things you mentioned. More people should think that way. Then we would have a much better world.

Ellison Hartley from Maryland, USA on September 26, 2018:

This is really good. I think we all need to remember that forgiveness is the best way, and to turn the other cheek. God will be the one to judge, we should live by the golden rule, and do unto others as you would have them do unto you!

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