‘Do not repay anyone evil for evil...If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Do not take revenge...
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good’. (Romans 12.17-21)
Whether in a family, in a local feud or between international communities, once revenge takes hold it becomes unstoppable, as aggression leads to reprisals, and to endless tit for tat. The chain can only be broken if those who have been wronged refuse to allow the evil actions of others to determine their response. We must not respond to hatred with more hatred, or to violence with more violence.
We must never condone evil, and as Paul realistically accepts, we cannot always avoid conflict; but as Christians we are called to strive always for peace and reconciliation, rather than revenge.
Jesus himself, who ‘did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered, but entrusted himself to the one who judges justly’ is our model and our example.