The Ephraimite forces were called out, and they crossed over to Zaphon. They said to Jephthah, “Why did you go to fight the Ammonites without calling us to go with you? We’re going to burn down your house over your head.”
2 Jephthah answered, “I and my people were engaged in a great struggle with the Ammonites, and although I called, you didn’t save me out of their hands. 3 When I saw that you wouldn’t help, I took my life in my hands and crossed over to fight the Ammonites, and the Lord gave me the victory over them. Now why have you come up today to fight me?” -Judges 12:1-3
The people of Ephraim felt the sting of being left out of the nation’s military victory. In revenge, they vowed to kill Jephthah. In the end, 42,000 people died. This is the destruction of revenge.
We see the impact of revenge today as well, whether in a marriage shattered, the political realm, churches, businesses, or even among nations. The emotional force of vengeance has resulted in the pain and deaths of many.
What can we do?
We can’t change how everyone else reacts, but we can work on how we personally respond when we sense vengeance rising within us. Romans 12 speaks of letting the Lord be in charge of vengeance, realizing he is the only one who can give out judgment perfectly. If we realize he will take care of it in the end, it can help us deal with not taking matters into our own hands now. This does not mean we become apathetic and do nothing, but it does mean we show restraint when we feel the need to react in violent ways. When we do, others may notice this difference and wonder why we are different, allowing an opportunity to share the reason for the hope within us (1 Peter 3:15-16).
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Dillon Burroughs is the author and coauthor of numerous books and is handwriting a copy of all 31,173 verses of the Bible at HolyWritProject.com. Find out more about Dillon at Facebook.com/readdB or readdB.com.