What is the purpose of revenge, vengeance?

The etymology of the word calls us to order. The root word of both concepts is “venge”, which stems from the Latin vindicāre; meaning vindicate. What is vindicate? The etymology stems from the Latin vindicātus (past participle of vindicāre) meaning: to lay legal claim to, to free (someone) from servitude (by claiming him as free), to protect.

From this etymology, let us build a framework. When a harm is committed against a person, the transgressor thus burdens himself with spiritual guilt according to the Law of Sowing and Reaping. The perpetrator is bound and knotted through his wrong volition that caused the harmful action. Let us enter Scripture. Roman 12:19 says “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”

When it proclaims vengeance to be lot of the Lord, it does NOT mean the Lord is thirsty to exact suffering, punishment and torture in order to “smite” our enemies. No. What it means is that the Law of Sowing and Reaping will take effect. But, the purpose of this Law (as indicated by the word “venge”) is to “free from servitude”, “to protect”. In other words, the Law initiates the reaping in order to free the perpetrator from his own wrong volition, and thus protect him from the darkness of his wrong motives. How is this achieved? By allowing him to taste, through circumstances, the nature of what he exacted upon another.

Do you see? The Law activates the reaping to rehabilitate and liberate this transgressor, but not necessarily to “punish”. Whether this occurs through grief or suffering is irrelevant. The point of the Law in this case is to help the person transcend his own wrong volition. Through this, he is being “protected” from darkness in order to resurrect to new life. Thus the motive of the Law is nothing but Love, Holy Love that holds no malice, but only what will help advance all parties simultaneously.

If you accept this, we must also be courageous enough to advance further: that the “transgressed” must also be part of this reaping. Thus the situation that caused him “harm” must itself be the reaping meant to “liberate him” from something dark within himself (unbeknownst to him), or is meant to “protect” him from spiritual slumber by rousing him to wakefulness that urges the continual exertion of inner development.

Either way, both sowing and reaping blend into a singular melody of continual liberation and protection, of upliftment and ascent. Therein lies the Nature of Divine Justice and Love.

~Ikenna Q Ezealah

About Ikenna Q Ezealah

Ikenna Q Ezealah is a writer, author and essayist whose themes embrace human-spiritual development.
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