Vengeance, Retribution, Vindictiveness and Retaliation Is Torahlessness ≠ Love

Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him. Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD. (Lev 19:17–18, KJV)

Leviticus 19:17, Not hate your brother. On vengeance, retribution, vindictiveness and bearing grudges against others. The KJV and NKJV translations of this verse is difficult to understand. The NIV reads, “Do not hate your brother in your heart. Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in his guilt.” The NAS has, “You shall not hate your fellow-countryman in your heart; you may surely reprove your neighbor, but shall not incur sin because of him.” Finally, the ASET reads, “You shall not your brother in your heart; you shall reprove your fellow and do not bear a sin because of him.”

In other words, when your brother treats you improperly, honestly confront him, or as Yeshua said, “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone” (Matt 18:15). However, if he ignores you and is still prone to vengeance or bearing a grudge against you, don’t become like him and retaliate against him (Lev 19:18). Instead, love him as yourself, or treat him with love as you wish to be treated (ibid.), or else you will incur his sin by becoming like him (v. 17). Yeshua summed up this godly principle of not giving in to vengeance and retaliation when wronged this way, “But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also” (Matt 5:39). This is loving one’s neighbor as oneself and is the summation of the second half of the Torah (Mark 12:29–31) as summed up by the last five of the ten commandments (Exod 20:12–17).

Exhibiting vengeance, retribution, vindictiveness or bearing a grudge against one’s neighbor is a lack of self control, is a result of anger and is a form of hatred, which are all works of the flesh resulting in contentions between people (Gal 5:20). These are sinful behaviors and are the opposite of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22–24), and people who habitually practice these sins along with the other works of the flesh are in danger of not being in the kingdom of Elohim (Gal 5:21).


3 thoughts on “Vengeance, Retribution, Vindictiveness and Retaliation Is Torahlessness ≠ Love

  1. “…..if he ignores you and is still prone to vengeance or bearing a grudge against you, don’t become like him and retaliate against him (Lev 19:18). Instead, love him as yourself, or treat him with love as you wish to be treated (ibid.), or else you will incur his sin by becoming like him (v. 17).”

    That’s it, Natan! This is such a necessary thing to remember, isn’t it?

    When in such an unjust relational situation, responding in love can be such a difficult thing to do sometimes! But if I can remember, first off, it is critical for the sake of my own soul, I may just be able to overcome the temptation to return evil for evil, or to keep trying to set things straight. Of course I want to esteem Elohim, and it would be good if the offender were also to become convicted of their own sin and do true repentance, but I must at least respond in love for the sake of my own soul, huh, that I will not become like them myself, right? This is a key for me in getting a grip on this situation.

    I think this might help me with something I’m going through lately. I don’t know if I can quite get the affections of love into it, but at least I can behave in a “loving” way, doing the right thing, not retaliating in words, mostly, and even just remaining silent. That may be loving enough for me to do right now as a first step. I find it very difficult not to keep trying to let the other person know how wrong they are in the way they are thinking and being. Maybe I can pray more and exercise faith more in letting the Ruach have more His own way and do His own thing through my silence and not responding in kind to my offender.

    As an old pastor of mine used to like to often say, “Let God arise and His enemies be scattered!”

    Thanks for your thoughts, bro. Shabbat shalom!

    • AMEIN and well said!

      We first have to protect our own soul (our mind, will and emotions) and our personal spirit from getting tainted with carnality, so that we can first maintain a right and holy relationship with Elohim, and, second, so that we don’t become a sinner like the one sinning against us, and third, so that, perhaps, by our godly example, we’ll be a light to the sinner that will help them to overcome their sin and bring them to the higher place in their spiritual walk.

      When the one who is sinning against us is outside our family, we can turn the other cheek, smile and walk away. However, when the sinner is in our own family, we can’t just walk away. If they have a emotional, mental and often demonic strongholds of pride that prevents them from seeing that their words and actions against us are evil and hurtful, and this goes on for years, well, that makes it all the more difficult to deal with. For me, that’s where the cross comes in. We have to bear that cross and carry it as Yeshua did for us. I find great strength at the cross. I can bear it for him and find fellowship in his sufferings because he did it for me when I was a sinner against him. That’s the only thing that has gotten me through my own family situations over the years. I give Yeshua the glory, and I’m a better person for it (more spiritual refined——mainly learning long-suffering, unconditional love, meekness and patience by keeping the mouth shut). Savvy?

      • TOTALLY! I appreciate your understanding and validation. Thanks! I want to seek that, above all and more than to see a change in my offender, that I am more than an over comer through messiah, that I can be so established through faith in his love for me that I am able to abide in shalom that passes all understanding and speak the truth in love by his power and authority in the name of your Yeshua!

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