May 13, 2022

Escape from the Chains of Bitterness


Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the LORD. Romans 12:19

How can you forgive someone who insulted you, lied to you and humiliated you for a long time? Now those are difficult questions.

The woman who asked those questions had been mistreated–no one would argue with that.  “Now I have escaped from this hell,” she said, “but I have a strong desire for revenge. I want them to feel what I felt.”

It’s a natural reaction.  But though she was now physically free of this mistreatment, my friend is still trapped with her pain in a different prison: the prison of bitterness.

Here are two facts that are helpful in escaping the chains of bitterness.

We don’t have the personal authority to punish someone with what they really deserve.  God says, “Vengeance is mine” (Romans 12:19).  Lou Priolo says when we impatiently try to avenge ourselves it’s like walking up to God and taking the crown off His head! It shows a poor understanding of who God is and what He is about. It says, “God, I don’t trust You to be just.”

We also don’t have the ability to do the job that needs to be done. “Suppose” says Priolo, your perpetrator “has done the same thing to 12 other people this month and deserves a more serious judgment than you would give him. The amount of vengeance required by God’s justice is predicated on His knowledge of men’s motives.”[1] “I will repay,” says the Lord (Romans 12:19).

God is serious about sin—it cost Him His Only Son’s life and His justice is the only perfect justice that exists. You can trust Him to get it done.


Resource reading: 1 Corinthians 4:5

[1]  Lou Priolo, Bitterness (Philipsburg: P & R Publishing, 2008), 32.