Edwards’ Resolutions, #14 – Revenge

Edwards’ Resolutions, #14 – Revenge

Resolved, never to do anything out of revenge.

This is part of an ongoing series on the resolutions of Jonathan Edwards.

Edwards’ fourteenth resolution focuses on something that affects every single person – anger.  Sure, it’s talking about revenge and all that, but there’s something that has to happen before one would take revenge – they need to feel like they’ve been wronged, justifiablyResolved, Never to do anything out of revenge or not. Once someone wrongs you, you have three choices – you can forgive them, you can hold a grudge, or you can exact your revenge (I know at least one person will say that there is a fourth option – to just move on – but that’s forgiveness, unless, of course, you move on while holding a grudge…  which isn’t exactly moving on).

Revenge is a hate filled, anger driven reaction.  It’s vile, and serves no purpose other than personal vindication.  Entire generations of families have been slaughtered by revenge – the Hatfields and the McCoys are a prime example.  We are called to forgive those who have wronged us (, , , to name a few), and to “be slow to anger” [, ESV, Partial].  A man who does not have malice and self-righteousness in his heart and does not become angry will not have the desire to take revenge.

There was a story that was going around some years back about a family who not only forgave the killer of their son, but they essentially adopted him as their own.  There was this boy, driving drunk – essentially showing off to his friends how drunk he was – who collided with another car, killing the driver.  At first, the other driver’s parents wanted nothing more than to kill this kid, but over time they grew to a place where he is essentially their second son.  Instead of taking revenge, they forgave him, wholly and completely.  Instead of holding a grudge, they truly moved on.

We should be resolved to forgive others (, , for a few) , not to exact revenge when we have been wronged, and not to forgive just once, but as many times as necessary ().  Forgiveness is a process and a conscious decision, not just “moving on.”

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32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (ESV)

25 And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” (ESV)

14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, (ESV)

19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; (ESV)

32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (ESV)

Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. (ESV)

21 Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven. (ESV)