Vengeance vs Forgiveness

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A reading from the book of Romans 12:19, “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord.”

Revenge is not easy to resist, for we all have experienced and felt the surge of envies from within ourselves at one time or another in our life in some shape or form. It can take a psychological and physical toll on a human being. Holding a grudge will restrain you from reaching a bliss; negative thoughts will continue to overshadow any thoughts of joy and contentment. If one has his/her sights on absolute vengeance,  the extent to which he/she exerts revenge can be limitless.

Forgiveness, on the other hand, is known to society as morally right. Sometimes, it may be a challenge to forgive a fellow friend, but you have to let go of your bitter resentments and let go of the past to cherish what you have in front of you. Forgiveness is the key to growth and maturity in life. Everyone makes mistakes and no one is perfect. Having mercy on others gives them a second chance to learn from their wrongdoings, and refrain from repeating them same mistakes in order to become a better person in society.

The novel, “The Scarlet Letter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, portrays the value of forgiving over and the negative aspects of vengeance. First, we have Hester and Dimmesdale, two characters who have both committed the sin of adultery. And the latter, Chillingworth, is a man on a mission to avenge Dimmesdale for cheating with his wife.

Here’s where it all goes south for Chillingworth:

Chillingworth is only interested in one thing and one thing only: Revenge. Once a wise scholar, now an old man with only one thing that can bring satisfaction to his life. The man relinquishes his distaste and bitter feeling on Dimmesdale by devoting his entire life into making Dimmesdale’s life as miserable as can be. This becomes his only mission in life. He transforms into the devil’s favorite demon by doing the devil’s work.  Rather than doing what God wants, he follows Satan and deliberately harms others. And when Dimmesdale dies, he is left with nothing to live for.

If you’ve read the Count of Monte Cristo, The Count’s character seeks revenge just like Chillingworth, but why does Dante live a happy ending compared to Chillingworth’s. They both had vengeance listed number one in their mind, but how come the outcome was different for Monte Cristo? Well, its because Monte Cristo meets self-realization. He realizes that he was no God; he should not punish others because it was God’s job. Chillingworth never met this self-realization and decided to do the punishing rather than letting God do his work.

On the other hand, Dimmesdale and Hester have committed the ultimate crime in the Puritan society: Adultery. But as the story progresses, we can see the character development of these two as they learn from their mistakes and become closer to God. Hester has to carry the Scarlet letter embroidered onto her as an act of penance. It is a symbol of her sin, reminding her to a better person. Through constant humiliation, she refuses to take it off because she realizes that God has given it to her and it is her duty to repent. Dimmesdale is different from Hester because he does not reveal and acknowledge his sin to the world until the end of the novel. When Hester apologizes to him for not telling him that Chillingworth was her husband, Dimmesdale accepts her apology.

Now think about it….Dimmesdale had been tortured and haunted by Chillingworth for years. He had been a shell of himself because of Chillingworth’s presence, leeching his soul out of him. Forgiving the woman who could have prevented this, defines Dimmesdale’s character greatly.

From the book of Matthew 6:14-15, “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” Dimmesdale forgives Hester’s sin against him. Did God keep his word in the end? Well let’s see…

When Dimmesdale was about to die, he said, “By bringing me hither, to die this death of triumphant ignominy before the people!” He died the way he wanted to. He left in peace.

It is up to God to punish the sinners and reward his children. Do not take revenge, but let go and forgive.  Let Him decide on Judgement Day.





One thought on “Vengeance vs Forgiveness

  1. Steve Finnell November 6, 2014 / 11:21 pm


    The original proof-text for original sin is Psalm 51:5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me. (NASB)

    Was David a sinner at conception? No. Was David a guilty of sin at his birth? No. David was a sinner only after he broke God’s commandments.

    Psalm 51: 1 Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; According to your compassion blot out my transgressions. (NASB)

    David asked God to blot out his transgressions. David did not asked God to blot out the guilt that he inherited from Adam. He did not ask God to block out the guilt of sins that he inherited from his mother and father.

    Psalm 51:2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity And cleanse me from my sin. (NKJV)

    David wanted to be cleansed from his sin. David did not ask God to cleanse him from original sin.

    Psalm 51:3 For I know my transgressions, And my sin is ever before me. (NASB)

    David did not transgress one of God’s laws by being conceived. David did not commit sin by being born.

    Psalm 51:4 Against You, You only, I have sinned And done what is evil in Your sight, So that You are justified when You speak And blameless when You judge. (NKJV)

    David did not do evil by being conceived and being born.

    Psalm 51:5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me. (NASB)

    David was conceived in a sinful world. David was born into a world filled with sinner’s. David was not guilty of the false teaching of original sin.

    Psalms 139:13-14 For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. 14 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. (NASB)

    God formed David in his mothers womb. God did not create David guilty of Adam’s sin nor guilty of anyones sin. God does not create sin. How could a sinner be wonderfully made?

    Genesis 1:27 God created man in His own image , in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (NASB)

    God created David in His own image. Is God’s image that of a sinner? David was created innocent of sin just like every person that God creates today. All men are created in God’s image.

    Mark 10:14 …”Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. (NASB)

    Jesus said the kingdom of God belongs to children. Did Jesus mean the kingdom belongs to dirty little sinners who were guilty of Adam’s sin at conception. Did Jesus mean that children who were sinners at birth belong in God’s kingdom.
    If the false doctrine of original sin is true how did these children have their sins wash away. Jesus gave this command after His death. Mark 16:16 He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved…). Small children and infants are not guilty of sin.

    Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,(NASB)

    Men will go hell because of the unforgiven sins they commit. Men will not go to hell because they were sinners at conception. Men will not go to hell because they were sinners at their birth.
    Men will not go to hell because they are guilty of Adam’s sin.
    Men will not go to hell because they are guilty of a false sin.
    The doctrine of original sin is a false doctrine invented by man and perpetuated by the uninformed.



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