[audio:http://www.bethelbentonville.com/wp-content/uploads/100418AM%20But%20I%20Want%20Revenge.mp3|artists=Brandon A. Cox|titles=But I Want Revenge]
In 1 Samuel 22, Doeg the Edomite ruthlessly slaughters, execution-style, 85 innocent priests of the Lord. In Psalm 52, David reacts by calling upon God to judge Doeg. Being angry was right, dealing with anger the way David did is also right.
I’m sure you’ve been in the position before of wanting to settle the score, to get even, to take revenge. If we’re not careful, that stored up anger can become debilitating in all of our relationships including our relationship with God. So how did David, and how do we deal with this kind of anger?
Be Honest About It
We tend to try our best to keep our negative emotions out of the picture with God, as if He doesn’t notice them tucked away in the inner parts of our soul. Anger is one of those often ugly things that brings about shame in our lives, even when we have every right to it (and there are times when we do).
But anger is an emotion, not a sin. Handling it wrongly can turn us to sin, but anger itself is actually commanded. Jesus got angry. God gets angry. We just don’t have the right to get angry for selfish reasons or to hang on to our anger over time.
God already knows you’re mad. You may as well tell Him about it – He can handle it.
Trust God With It
David said that God is eternally good. I don’t think that means God is eternally nice so much as it means He is holy and righteous, always being, doing, and choosing good over evil by His very nature.
I’m not that way. I’m not holy like God. I’m not merciful the way God is. I don’t have perfect knowledge and judgment, so I can’t sort out how to assess a person’s wrongs or what kind of punishment they should receive. So I need to trust God to handle it… on His schedule, which is eternal.
I need to trust God to deal with the other person, but I also need to trust God to deal with me. I deserve hell, but because of Jesus Christ, I’m freed, forgiven, and going to heaven. Who am I to condemn another? I need God’s mercy in my life!
Keep Your Heart of Praise
David closed Psalm 52 by praising God. It’s essential to remember that nothing anyone else can do, no amount of injustice in the world, no amount of evil ever changes the holy character and nature of God. He is always praiseworthy no matter the choices of others around us.
I need to keep my heart tender before Him. If my heart is hardened toward heaven, it will be hardened toward everyone else too. What do you do when you really want revenge?
You take it to God in brutal honesty and trust Him to deal with it in His time and His way. Or you can be miserable and disobedient… it’s up to you.