I watched a scenario between two people play out a few months ago which ended in one of the two people taking revenge on the other person. The revenge was not violent, but rather destroying the character and reputation of the other person who ended up losing their job because there was enough truth in what was being said that the employer could not allow that person to be working in their office.
The back story was that the worker who lost her job had a police record for robbery from several years earlier, she had paid her debt to society, and had since been given custody of her two children. The problem was that she failed to list the arrest and subsequent conviction on her application. Basically, she lied on her application. She justified not saying anything because of her need to keep a roof over the heads of her two children and keep them fed. She had been referred and recommended for the job by a friend of the owner, so she didn’t think it would ever come up.
She was a star employee. she had been with the company for two years. She had been employee of the month three months in a row. She had helped the company owner grow the business by helping with sales and customer service in addition to her bookkeeping and back office skills she was hired for.
The ex-boyfriend was successful and getting his revenge. And, from the sound of it through a third person, he was boasting about it to his friends that he had gotten even. I have not heard the outcome or fallout that came after this single mom lost her job, but I suspect she is struggling desperately to care for her children and make a life for them. Her ex-boyfriend had the disposition of a tiger, and felt fully justified doing what he had done. And to him, the revenge was sweet. As tragic as it may sound, the world is filled with people just like this ex-boyfriend who have the disposition of the tiger.
Tigers are known for their vengeful nature. When they are wronged, they will seek out whomever or whatever was the cause and take revenge. Just like the tiger, people live with an inability to let go of offenses done to them or others. They have an inability to seek reconciliation or choose peace over conflict. In short, they live for revenge.
Depending on the kind of spiritual beliefs you have, you may or may not understand what I’m about to say. Whether you want to agree with this or not, this is Truth that you can go to the bank on. Just as there is a Spirit of unconditional love, peace, and joy, forgiveness, reconciliation, and restoration, there are spirits – demonic influences – which operate freely in our culture. These spirits breed hatred, prejudice, racism, anger, rage, unforgiveness, bitterness, divisiveness, and vindictiveness. They feed off of conflict, arguments and disputes. They love to perpetuate sentiments of hate in the hearts of people. This is especially damaging to the soul of someone who does not know God in a personal way (through salvation in Christ).
Once a person learns that there is a spiritual battle that is being waged in the spiritual realm for the heart of mankind, it is easy to see the power of forgiveness and reconciliation. Without Christ’s Spirit in us, a person cannot understand (nor do they realize) that the internal battle they are having is really a spiritual one. They have instead turned their hate towards another human being. They do not recognize that it is a demonic spirit seeking to step up and maintain a stronghold in their heart that thrives on bitterness and hatred. They are unaware of the spiritual consequences of living in the realm of unrepentant unforgiveness which breeds hate, vindictiveness, and malice towards others.
The goal of these forces of darkness are simple. They want to shipwreck lives. They want to cause division and strife among anyone and everyone who will open their soul to their whispers of hate and animosity. So, how do we individually and collectively, change our attitudes so that we do not act in the same way the beasts of the field act?
The answer is simply this. Forgiveness.
When we choose to forgive quickly when an offense comes and then forget the wrong done to us, we enter into a whole new realm of living. When we do this, we take on part of the divine nature of God who himself forgives us for our sin and rebellion against Him. The caveat to partaking in this divine nature is that we must be spiritually alive to the Spirit of God. This only happens when we ourselves are willing to ask forgiveness of our wrongs against God Himself. This can only happen by recognizing that we are just as bad as this ex-boyfriend I just mentioned. God reminds us in scripture that our hearts are desperately wicked. We have all fallen short (just like the ex-boyfriend). We are all in need of forgiveness and salvation from our wrongs done against the holiness of God and against others (sin)..
Once we enter into a personal relationship with God, we are given something that can only be fully explained by those who have experienced it. We receive God’s forgiveness and his mercy on our lives which brings a peace which cannot be explained in human terms. Once we have personal relationship with God, we are able to live a victorious life filled with faith, hope, and love. This allows us to move past the offenses brought against us by others – whether perceived or real.
When we determine to make a willful choice to forgive quickly and love unconditionally, no matter how unlovable or deplorable someone is or what they have done, we are able to forgive them and move forward in our lives. The more we forgive and love, the more we experience God’s forgiveness and love. When this happens, we move into a place of empowered living which frees us from the bondage of sin and thinking that taking revenge is something sweet to be enjoyed.
So what happened to the ex-boyfriend? Let me just say that the very things that he chose to expose in the woman whose life was ruined, came to visit him shortly after. He is now serving time in a county jail for DWI, resisting arrest, in possession of an unregistered firearm, and being in possession of stolen property. He is awaiting trial.
How do you address offenses in your life and what principles do you use to make peace with those who have offended you? I would love to hear from you in the comment section below. So would my readers.