Revenge – A Dangerous Accomplice
“Revenge, at first though sweet,
Bitter ere long back on itself recoils.” – John Milton
In 2003, Chris Huhne a highly placed MP in the British parliament was caught over speeding while driving. Having received 9 penalty points previously on his driving license, this offence was very likely to earn him driving ban and seizure of his driving license. He decided to take the easy way out, he appealed to his wife to take responsibility for the offence and she agreed.
Seven years later, Chris Huhne decided to leave his wife of 25 years, Vicky Pryce and started another relationship with someone else.
This decision did not go down well with Vicky who decided to seek revenge by going to the newspapers and giving them the story of how her then husband had asked her to take the speeding ticket he would have received.
After several court cases and running up legal and police costs, the principal actors are now facing jail sentences to be passed any time from now. Vicky Pryce it seems, thought that she could defend her actions, by claiming marital coercion, but this defence was thrown out by the courts as not valid.
Revenge it seems to me, is a dangerous accomplice to have. It promises sweet rewards but at the end it turns around and bites the one who welds it.
The natural tendency of the natural man is to seek payback. We want the offender to feel every bit of pain, hoping that we will get some relief from seeing them suffer. The question is, ‘Does revenge really satisfy?’
The book of proverbs is an encyclopaedia of wise sayings. ‘Don’t testify against your neighbours without cause; don’t lie about them. And don’t say, “Now I can pay them back for what they’ve done to me! I’ll get even with them!”’ (Proverbs 24: 28-29)
Although Vicky did not lie when she exposed her ex-husband for what he did, her motive was wrong. It had nothing to do with morality or the need to do the right thing; the motive was revenge. I doubt that when she made the decision to get back at her husband for leaving her, she had no idea that the case would turn around and hurt her as well.
I read a similar event in scripture where revenge turned around and hurt the people who welded it as a weapon. In Judges 15, Samson had just destroyed the fields of the Philistines for giving away his bride-to-be to another person. When the Philistines found out who had destroyed their grain fields and why, they headed for the home of offending family and burnt them all to death. This they did, in revenge for what they Samson had done to them.
Their action, rather than appease Samson, infuriated him the more, “Because you did this, I will not rest until I take my revenge on you!” He told the Philistines. (Judges 15:7) The rest of what happened thereafter is history.
When events like this happen, I ask myself, ‘What can I learn from this?’ In the case of Vicky Pryce and Chris Huhne, the lesson here is that ‘Revenge, though sweet at first taste, eventually turns sour’.
In Matthew 5:38, Jesus told the people, ‘You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies. Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven’
Paraphrasing the above, Jesus is simply saying, ‘Do not seek payback for those who hurt you!’
Steve Popoola is the editor of Biblepraise Newsletter and the founder of the Biblepraise Fellowship Online at http://www.biblepraise.org. He lives in Kent, United Kingdom, where he works as an IT Professional. He currently as a Worship Leader in his local church and on occasion, speaks at invited events. He is the founder of the Biblepraise Fellowship Online Ministry and Moderator/Editor of the Biblepraise Newsletter. He can be reached through His email address, firstname.lastname@example.org