Never Avenge Yourself!

Romans 12:19

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”

When we are really faced with a real enemy—-a vicious ex-spouse, an ogrish boss who jerks us around, the eel who smashed our car and had the temerity to sue us for it, the slime who cheated on us for years and then dumped us for the cute secretary, the thug who robbed our house—we discover that what we really want is not to “leave it to the wrath of God” but to hope that that the wrath of God would seize us and make us the instruments of his vengeance.  But the fact is, God’s mercy is his vengeance—-his vengeance against the sin and not the sinner.  God’s wrath against sin is complete and all-consuming.  There will be no sin in heaven.  But there will be former sinners who are now saints.  And so we are called to destroy sin by love and forgiveness, not by hate.  That is the ultimate vengeance on sin and the ultimate act of love for us.  God commends his grace to us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Mark Shea


Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog and regularly blogs for National Catholic Register. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.

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