Scripture: 2 Samuel 19:23 (ESV)
Why Revenge Doesn't Work
"And the king said to Shimei, 'You shall not die.' And the king gave him his oath."
After King David's mourning for the death of his son in the rebellion, he marched back to the "King's City" of Jerusalem. On the road he sees the familiar face of Shimei, who cursed him as a man of blood, throwing rocks at him and his men when they fled from the rebellion. This time, Shimei comes to the empowered king begging for mercy. David's men wanted to have this man killed for the disgrace he had shown the king. But David took the opportunity to prove Shimei wrong and spared his life.
There always seems to be that one person that makes your blood curdle. That person that seems to hate you for no good reason. They may attack your character, or weaknesses, or leadership, and even kick you when you're down. Everything within you wants to show that person up, and let them feel the wrath of your vengeance. But "getting back at" or "getting even" with someone is nothing more than responding hatred with more hatred. The problem with revenge is that you become what that person was accusing you of being. If David killed Shimei would he have gotten what was coming to him? Yes, but then David would have become the man of blood, and proven Shimei to be right about him.
But if you respond to hatred with love, you can change the way they think about you, and maybe they might even begin to like you. If you are a Christian, the world is going to hate you, Jesus promises that (Matt 10:22). But when you respond, not as the world does, with love, then the reason for hate disappears, and opinions change. So when you feel like taking revenge on someone, remember NOT to give them a reason to hate you, and they may change upon seeing what the real you looks like.
"Lord Jesus, thank You for the truth of Your word. Please help me to not respond with anger or vengeance, but with love and mercy. Let the way I live my life change the way people respond to me, and bring them closer to You. Amen."