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What Does the Bible Say about Revenge?

It is not healthy to seek out revenge nor to dwell on revenge. God does not want anger, hate, or revenge to dwell in your heart. God wants your life to be filled with love, mercy, and forgiveness.

Paper cutout of one man pushing another

The Bible does talk about revenge. The Bible tells us we are not to take revenge on others as revenge is the Lord’s. Paul tells us in Romans 12:19, “My dear friends, don’t try to get even. Leave room for God to show his anger.

It is written, ‘I am the God who judges people. I will pay them back,’ says the Lord” (Deuteronomy 32:35). 

What Does it Mean to Seek Revenge?

Well-known artist, Taylor Swift, has widely popularized the idea of taking revenge. In her song “Better Than Revenge,” she sings, “There is nothing I do better than revenge.” It is not surprising that modern-day culture has popularized the trend of taking revenge on others.

Human beings tend to believe it is in our right to take revenge on others. If a person wrongs you, the immediate reaction of most of us is to “get even” with them. The Bible tells us this is wrong as we should never try to “get even” with someone nor should we seek out revenge on them. Only God has righteous revenge.

His revenge is not rooted in hate, pride, or sin. God’s vengeance is rooted in His perfectly holy nature. Hebrews 10:30 says, “For we know him who said, ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ and again, ‘The Lord will judge his people.’”

Seeking out revenge is never a good thing to do. It is inevitable that others will hurt us in our lives, even our own family, friends, and other Christians; however, we should never seek revenge toward them. Revenge stems out of pride and hatred.

Even if you seek out revenge because a person clearly wrongs you in a very unbiblical manner, you still should not seek revenge on the person. God will repay everyone according to what they have done (Romans 2:6).

You can rest assured that no matter what a person has done to you, God knows, and He will repay accordingly. We should never try to intervene on God’s behalf because revenge is the Lord’s--not ours (Deuteronomy 32:35).

What Does the Bible Say about Revenge?

God clearly tells the Israelites to not seek out revenge on others. God commands the Israelites in Leviticus 19:18, “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.”

As Christians, we are not to hold grudges nor seek revenge on others. God tells us in Leviticus 19:18 that rather than seeking revenge or holding a grudge, we should love the person as we love ourselves.

This is in agreement with Jesus’ commands reinforced in the New Testament (Mark 12:31). When you feel you are seeking out revenge on another person, you need to pause and pray. Pray for the person who has wronged you or hurt you.

By praying for them, it can help remove any bitterness, hatred, or resentment you have against them. In time, you may be surprised as the person may apologize or try to fix what they did wrong. Whether they ask for forgiveness or not, you should still forgive them.

Ephesians 4:32 tells us to forgive as the Lord forgave us. This also stretches into the sense that we should not seek our revenge on others. Seeking out revenge, holding grudges, or hating others will only hurt you and impair your relationship with God and with others.

Within the Bible, there is only one time when God allows a person to carry out vengeance on his behalf. This example is the exception--not the norm. In the Old Testament, God commands Moses to lead the Israelites out in battle to avenge His Name among the Midianites (Numbers 31:1-2).

Moses did not seek out revenge on his own will, doing, or decision. Moses only sought out revenge because God directly told him to seek out vengeance on the Midianites.

Should I Seek Out Revenge?

Absolutely not. Seeking out revenge on others is not part of God’s will for your life. The only result of seeking out revenge is hurt, pain, and broken relationships. When you feel the temptation to seek out revenge, turn to God. He can help you overcome this temptation.

Another thing you can do is to pray for the individual who has wronged you. By praying for them, it helps redirect your focus on helping the individual rather than seeking revenge on the individual.

When you focus on helping the other person by praying for them, it helps you to grow in your Christian maturity. Emotionally healthy Christians do not entertain thoughts of revenge nor do they carry out revenge on others.

Emotionally healthy Christians have grown in their walk with Christ and do not fumigate on thoughts of revenge. Rather than seeking out revenge, mature Christians forgive the other person, pray for them, and trust that God will carry out righteous vengeance.

Revenge only belongs to the Lord because He is holy, righteous, and perfect (Matthew 5:48). Since God is perfect, He is the only One who can carry out true and righteous vengeance on others. Mankind is not perfect, which means our vengeance is not rooted in holy righteousness.

If we are honest with ourselves, most of our revenge is rooted in pride, self-ambition, and vain conceit. As believers, we are to have nothing to do with any of these sins, including the sin of participating in revenge (Philippians 2:3-11).

Revenge is the Lord’s, and we should not meddle in it. God will carry out vengeance according to His perfect will, nature, and character. As believers, we are not to seek out revenge on others. Revenge will only bring about grief, pain, and bitterness.

Instead of focusing on thoughts that fuel revenge, think on things that are good. The Apostle Paul tells us this truth in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.”

Notice in this passage, Paul does not tell us to think on the things of revenge or vengeance. Rather, we should focus on the things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy.

If we think about these things, revenge will not come to mind. It is not healthy to seek out revenge nor to dwell on revenge. God does not want anger, hate, or revenge to dwell in your heart. God wants your life to be filled with love, mercy, and forgiveness.

For further reading:

What Did God Mean When He Said ‘Vengeance Is Mine’?

Conflicted about Judgment

What Is the Significance of Seventy Times Seven in Forgiveness?

Does God Really Forgive Our Sins?

Why Do We Forget to Hate the Sin and Love the Sinner?

Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Gajus


Vivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Christian Ministry and is currently working toward her Master’s Degree. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is probably embarking on an adventure.