“Revenge” – a desire to return evil for evil; an opportunity for getting satisfaction (Merriam-Webster Dictionary, p. 599) by getting even (or back at) for an injury or insult received.
“Retaliate” – to repay an injury or insult, etc. with a similar one, to make a counterattack (Oxford American Dictionary, p. 578).
Gen. 25:29-33; 27:34-36, 41 Why did Esau bear a grudge against his brother, Jacob, and want to kill him?
[“birthright” – is the term applied to the particular advantages, privileges, and responsibilities of the firstborn among the Israelites. The firstborn was the object of special affection to his parents and inherited particular rights and privileges. The rights and privileges of the firstborn were: 1) he received a double portion of the estate while the other sons got single and equal portions; 2) he was made head of the whole family. The firstborn enjoyed an authority over those younger, similar to that possessed by a father – Unger’s Bible Dictionary, p. 367.].
Has anyone ever taken or stolen anything from you, so that you wanted to strike back at that person in some way?
If so, how did you strike back, and why?
Gen. 34:2, 25-27 Why did Simeon and Levi kill Shechem, Hamor, and every male Hivite?
If your sister, mother, or wife was raped and you knew the person who did it, would you take revenge and retaliate, and why?
If not, what would you do, and why?
As a Christian, how should you respond, and why (Eph. 4:31; Prov. 21:3; Deut. 16:20; Rom. 13:2, 4; 1 Pet. 2:13-14)?
Rom. 12:17, 19 What should we never do?
What should we do instead, and why?
- Have you ever flashed your car’s bright lights on someone else’s car because the person did something to you that you didn’t like?
- Have you ever left a mess in your room, apartment, home, place of employment, a restaurant, or department store because someone there did something to you that you didn’t like, so you struck back by leaving a mess there for him/her to have to clean up?
- Have you ever stopped talking to someone because of a comment he/she made about you that you didn’t like?
- Has anybody ever made a comment about your clothes, hair, the way you played certain games, your cooking, or the way you drive, so you retaliated, in turn, by saying something you didn’t like about that person?
- Have you ever made noise when someone was trying to sleep, read, or pray because he/she did it to you and you wanted him/her to know what it felt like?
- Have you ever hit someone because they hit you first?
- Have you ever stolen or broken someone else’s property because of something he/she did or said to or about you?
Which kind of retaliation do you find it easiest to commit (e.g., emotional, verbal, financial, or physical), and why?
What does God think about a vengeful spirit, and why?
Ex. 21:23-24 Is this a contradiction to Rom. 12:17, 19, and why (Ex. 19:3; 21:1, 23)?
Judges 15:4-8 What did Samson do as a result of his wife and father-in-law being murdered?
What would you have done if you knew who murdered a member of your family or a close friend, and why?
What should you do, and why (Mk. 11:25; Col. 3:13; Rom. 13:2, 4; Gen. 9:6; Prov. 21:3; Deut. 16:20)?
1 Sam. 18:10-11; 19:9-11; 24:1-6; 26:7-11 What had Saul tried to do to David three times?
Why didn’t David seek revenge and kill Saul, even though he had good opportunities to do so (1 Sam. 24:6; 26:9, 11)?
[“anointed” – set apart by God to serve Him, Unger’s Bible Dictionary, p. 67].
Do you think David’s concept of God helped to determine his response?
What concept of God did David have that caused him not to comply with his men’s suggestion to kill Saul (1 Sam. 26:9-10)?
How does your concept of God influence your attitude toward revenge on those who have wronged you, and why (Rom. 12:19)?
How could you go about changing your concept of God so that it’s accurate/correct, so that it influences you to have the proper attitude toward revenge?
2 Sam. 13:7-14, 22-29 What did Amnon do that caused his half-brother Absalom to hate him?
How long was it before Absalom got revenge?
Have you ever held a grudge against someone for an extended period (e.g., weeks, months, years) because of something he/she did to a family member or friend of yours that resulted in your getting back at him/her?
If so, what shouldn’t you do, now that you know what God says about revenge?
Will you obey God in this, and why?
Esther 3:2-6 Because of Haman’s pride, what was his immediate reaction when Mordecai would not bow down to him (Esther 3:5)?
What did Haman seek to do to all the Jews because Mordecai would not bow down to him?
Have you ever been angry or filled with rage when someone would not meet your demands or expectations (even though your expectations were wrong)?
If so, did you seek retaliation?
What should you have done, why, and how (Rom. 12:3; Eph. 5:18; 1 Cor. 16:14)?
Matt. 15:19; Mk. 7:20-23 What is the major cause of a revengeful spirit?
[“the heart” – here, it means “the sin nature”].
Do you have a revengeful/retaliatory spirit? If so, whose fault is it?
If not, have you ever had a revengeful spirit (e.g., wanting to get back at someone: emotionally by ignoring them; physically by hitting or killing them; verbally by calling them names, gossiping, or slandering them; or financially by suing them or stealing from or vandalizing their property)?
What are some ways to overcome a revengeful spirit (1 Jn. 1:9; 5:14-15; Eph. 5:18; Gal. 5:22-23; Col. 3:12; Rom. 12:2, 19-21; Prov. 21:3; Rom. 13:4; 1 Pet. 2:13-14, 23)?
Mk. 6:17-25 Why did Herodias have a grudge against John the Baptist and want to kill him?
What happened because John told Herod the truth, but Herodias didn’t like it (Mk. 6:27)?
Has a spiritual leader or Christian friend ever rebuked you for some sin in your life, and you not only didn’t like it, but retaliated against the person in some way?
Rather than retaliating, what should be your response toward being confronted or corrected for sin in your life by someone (Lk. 17:3; Prov. 10:17; 1 Thes. 5:18)?
Gal. 5:19-21 What are the deeds of the flesh/sin nature?
[Any sin is really a deed of the flesh, which would include a revengeful spirit.].
Which kind of retaliation do you find it easier to commit (e.g., emotional, verbal, or physical), and why?
- Have you ever put your car’s bright lights on someone who did the same to you?
- Have you ever left a mess in your or another person’s apartment/room when it wasn’t your turn to clean the apartment or room because they did it to you when it was your turn to clean?
- Have you ever stopped talking to someone because of a comment they made about you rather than confronting them about it and trying to gain reconciliation?
- Have your parents ever told you that you couldn’t do something or go somewhere, which then resulted in your not wanting to do the chores around the house?
- Has anybody ever made a comment about your attitude, clothes, hair, the way you played certain games, your cooking, or the way you drive, which then resulted in your saying something negative about them or to them in retaliation?
- Have you ever made noise when someone was trying to sleep, read, or pray because they did it to you, and wanted them to know what it felt like?
- Have you ever hit someone back because they hit you first or said something nasty about you?
If you answered “yes” to any of the above, what do you plan to do about it, and how soon?