As much as we may hate to admit it, the desire to revenge is one of those intense negative emotions that every single living human has experienced at some point in their life.
In life, we often go through situations that are frustrating causing us heartaches and grief.
We feel so upset that we are tempted to believe that paying back is the only way to vent off our anger.
A dictionary simply defines revenge as the action of inflicting harm or hurt on someone for an injury or wrong suffered at their hands.
It is the desire to inflict retribution.
It only seeks to cause pain to those that have hurt us, but it is not concerned with justice.
The desire to hurt back is destructive, but unfortunately for us, it is the central theme of most movies and TV dramas. It is glorified, and we are made to believe that conflicts can only get fully resolved after revenge.
But why does this desire for hatred arise when we get hurt?
Why do people revenge?
The desire for revenge starts in the brain. We always collect information from our environments through our senses then give them meaning based on what we interpret.
The way we interpret this information could cause us to feel like paying back even if others meant no harm to us.
Most people strive to feel superior in one way or the other.
When we find that we were not acknowledged, or that we were socially humiliated or harmed in any way, we will feel helpless.
This feeling might result in low self-esteem, imagined weakness, and even identity crisis. Under the pressure of such powerful emotions, many people find satisfaction in trying to level the ground.
Why Revenge is a Relationship Killer
Even as we burn for revenge, we always know at the back of our minds that revenge is bad. Below are some of the dangers of revenge.
Revenge is not a solution to the problem
It is but only a quick fix and not a lasting solution to the problem. It doesn’t restore what got lost.
It makes you feel worse
Contrary to what the people that seek revenge believe; revenge doesn’t make you feel good. Later after you hit back, the feeling of satisfaction turns to regret.
It is taking the role of God
In the book of Romans 12:19-21, God says revenge is His.
“Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: it is mine to avenge; I will repay, says the Lord.”
It is not the spirit of Christ
As a Catholic, you should never seek to pay back because it is contrary to the spirit of our Savior Jesus Christ. Christ hates revenge. James and John asked Christ if he wanted to command fire to come down and consume the village of Samaria after it denied them passage, but Jesus rebuked them.
“You do not know what manner of spirit you made you. For the son of man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them (Luke 9:55-56)”
God forbids it
To retribute is to disobey God’s word. God has instructed that we should not revenge. Doing so would, therefore, be a sin.
“You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD (Lev 19:18)”
It makes you just like the person that wronged you
By revenging, you become just like the person that angered you. For example, if you kill the person who killed your friend, you become nothing but just a murderer like him.
Retaliation steals your desire to forgive.
We are not perfect neither are the people around us. We all make mistakes, and these mistakes often affect others. It is only through forgiveness that we can live in harmony. The thoughts of hurting your offender take the place of forgiveness in your heart and makes you harbor wicked and destructive thoughts.
It is difficult to stop revenge once it becomes a habit.
Retribution is addictive. Once you start repaying, you lose your ability to forgive and become a rude, hurtful person. It will, in turn, ruin your relationships with people and God.
Vengeance makes the healing process more difficult.
We think ill of others when we feel hurt. Studies have shown that by taking the retaliation route, we continually think about the incident thereby making it very difficult for us to move on. When we forget revenge, we think less about what happened to us. It gives us an easier time forgiving and letting go.
How to handle the desire to revenge
The desire to retaliate only becomes intense when our subconscious minds believe it’s the best way for us to get back our rights. The best way to solve this problem is, therefore, to calm down our inner feelings.
Tit for tat re-opens and worsens your emotional wounds.
As tempting as it might be to punish a wrong, you end up punishing yourself because you can’t heal. The best way to handle the desire to repay is to channel it towards succeeding. Put that energy towards achieving your goals.
Once the brain starts to think about how sweet it will be to achieve your goals, the focus shifts, and the desire to revenge becomes irrelevant.