At times I have felt justified in wanting revenge. I have wanted those who hurt me deeply to hurt deeply. I have wanted them to know even a portion of the suffering they caused.

Several years ago, my sister called me at work to let me know that the icky neighbor had died. I had a “whatever” attitude about the news. My sister thought this was unusual and encouraged me to reflect on it.

So I did. I spent the next a significant amount of time imagining him burning in hell. I imagined him experiencing all the torment he caused me and so many others. I’m not proud of this, but there were moments of enjoyment in thinking justice had been served.

It was then that God stopped me in my tracks saying, “What if he is in heaven with Me?” That landed like a kick in the gut. What if? God, certainly chased after him with the same fervor that he chased me.

When I got home from work, I jumped on the elliptical and had it out with God. Literal sweat and tears as we wrestled through this idea that the icky neighbor could be in heaven.

“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shouldersand goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. (Luke 15: 4-7 NIV)

As always, God won. I was humbled and comfortable with the thought that he could be in heaven. Revenge doesn’t ease pain. It generally causes more. Instead, wrestling with God brought resolution, comfort and greater peace. I had to come to terms with salvation being available to anybody who chooses it includes the ones who cause us the deepest pain.

Do you seek revenge? Is there something God is trying to teach you in the midst of it? Share your story here and breathe life and bring hope to others.

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