Vengeance is mine…

….saith the Lord.

Amen.

I remember being so full of rage that I couldn’t sleep.

I was so furious at what was being done not only to me but to my children.  That part was actually the worst one. You wanna mess with me fine, I’m a big girl and I was finally waking up enough to be able to stand my ground a little.  But don’t you mess with my kids. I will demolish you.

The mama bear – when she awakens – is fierce and unforgiving.

But God doesn’t want me to dirty my hands with the messy business of revenge.

He wants me to pursue more noble things…than getting even.

Because the truth is you can never get even.  

In all probability the person who shattered your world will most likely equate it to a hiccup and move on.  

But when we were in the worst of it, and my ex was taking cheap shot after cheap shot and it was affecting the boys – I was smoldering.  I called on God’s justice to be done daily. I asked Him to make me an instrument of His wrath if it pleased Him.

He never took me up on that.

Instead He called me leave room for Him to deal with the wrongs being done, as well as the perpetrator of those wrongs.

I would read angry, hurtful texts, emails, fend off nasty phone calls, be blindsighted by the latest move from his lawyer, and turn to God like a kid trying to plead a case with their parents.  “Did you see what he just said? Did you see that?”

And of course I knew He saw.  But I wanted special attention drawn to it, so that I knew that it had been clearly pointed out and that I could then leave room for Him to act.

Go get him God.  

Make him pay.

I won’t lie and tell you that I never prayed those psalms of David where he is asking that those digging a trap fall into their own pit.  Or the ones where he asks for them to become caught in their own snare.

I SO wanted justice, but I knew I couldn’t get it in a manner that would be satisfactory, so I asked God to do His thing.  

He promises justice.

But He also promises mercy and grace.

In those raw moments of hurt and anger, I wanted to make sure that the justice part would reach my ex before the mercy and grace.

Early in our separation I was still staying in our house with the boys and he was staying with a kind man from church who had a big house to himself.

One evening we had arranged for the boys and I to be out so that he could stop by and get some things he said he needed, and we could avoid yet another unhealthy confrontation.  When I returned late that evening with tired boys, I realized that instead of taking any clothes, books, even pictures of the boys – he took nothing but all of the sheets, pillows and the comforter off of our queen size bed.  I came home to a house full of all of his belongings and a naked mattress. And he made sure to take all of the sheets from the closet too, none of which would fit on the bed he was now sleeping in anyways.

OK.  Nice.

So I slept in a sleeping bag that night, no biggie. After I screamed and kicked the bed and let a few frustrated tears out. I had no money for new sheets.

Part of me wanted to take all of his stuff, shove it in trash bags and leave it on the porch for him.  And maybe I should have. But I didn’t.

By then God had impressed on me the futility of seeking retribution.

You want to behave like a jerk, go ahead.  God knows and He will eventually deal with you.  I don’t have time to waste on you. God has called me for greater things than petty revenge.

Instead I would pray for his healing and then release it to God. We all have a budgeted amount of energy and anger isn’t cheap. So I had to let it go.

Because revenge can consume you.

And your kids are watching.  Or your nephews. Or your young cousin.

When I was a teenager, my BFF from high school had ditched us one too many times.  We had planned to go out together and she bailed. We suspected she was going to a different party without us but didn’t have the decency to tell us.

So as my other friend and I were in her neighborhood, talking about this and getting worked up and burning with righteous anger – in our teenage wisdom we decided she deserved a little street justice.

We parked up the street and snuck down the hill where she parked her car off the side of the road.  We didn’t slash, but in the cover of darkness we quietly let all of the air out of her tires, keeping a close eye on the windows and front door.  Her dad already hated me and had a temper.

We got away with it. But somehow it didn’t make me feel any better.

Needless to say I am NOT proud of that moment.  A petty and pointless act of trying to bring about justice.  Pay back is mine, saith the idiot.

Years later my ex would do something similar to his ex-girlfriend, slashing tires, pouring battery acid on her car…

I can’t judge – I did it too.

He was seeking his own justice, just as I had.  It’s never pretty. We never look back on that moment and brag about how low we stooped to get back at someone.

Better to leave room for God.

He’s the only one who will not look like a desperate idiot trying to get back at someone who hurt them… He will be the judge.  He will be wise, and impartial, and simply deal with the acts.

He will see justice done correctly, fully, and without fail…but in His timing.

I know that my examples seem petty compared to so many wrongs that you may have suffered. But the principle remains the same.

Entrust your case to God – don’t poison yourself with revenge.  Use your energies to break free of the anger and forgive so that you can move on to better things! Because seeking revenge is like putting yourself in the jail cell with the offender. You are both held captive by the spite and endless cycle of hurting one another.

Leave the petty kids to throw mud at each other. The soul only shrinks in those conditions.  Your soul is ready for wider, freer spaces.  

You have rainbows to follow and mountains to climb.  Leave the justice to the one who invented karma. He promises that you will reap what you sow.  So sow kindness, hope, love and forgiveness. Those are the things that you want coming back to you – not someones distorted view of justice and revenge.

Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.”

-Romans 12: 19

Go and walk in the freedom of knowing who justice truly belongs to.

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