Revenge and Retaliation

Revenge inflicts "punishment for injury or insult," and means retaliation, spite, or vindictiveness. Spite is "malicious ill will prompting an urge to hurt or humiliate." Vindictive suggests "unmotivated rancor and a disposition to retaliate for wrongs, real or imagined." Retaliation is "the act of returning like for like, repayment in kind, requital, reprisal."

Revenge and retaliation are sins that call upon you the full weight of the law of action and reaction, cause and effect. When you seek revenge or retaliate, you are sitting in the judgment seat, acting as judge, jury and executioner.

God’s vengeance is mercy, which is an absolute and relative principle and law, subsidiary to the Love Emanation. God will return mercy for human vengeance unless it is blasphemy or born of unrelenting hatred and violence. Mercy is granted to those who show mercy.

Edna Lister on Revenge and Retaliation

Deal justly, even with enemies, for it is better to suffer evil than to retaliate with vengeance.—Edna Lister, October 28, 1937.

A thought of vengeance tears down your bridge into the future.—Edna Lister, April 29, 1941.

Jealousy, revenge or condemnation mean one is not yet ready to serve. He may again start from the bottom and make the whole climb again, though it takes seven years to climb back.—Edna Lister, July 10, 1941.

"Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord."—Romans 12:19, and His vengeance is love. Only love may avenge darkness. Hate may not be avenged by more hate. Only love may avenge hate.—Edna Lister, October 21, 1942.

If you do any manner of darkness or hold vengeful emotions, your Oversoul shall ascend from you, and your fall shall be great.—Edna Lister, November 4, 1942.

A revenge motive is the root of self-pity, rebellion, resentment, frustration and pride.—Edna Lister, August 1, 1945.

Cleanse your words of retaliation and revenge. Stop allowing yourself to judge the other fellow, and control the tongue until your only words are those the soul speaks. Light will search and try you until all your words follow the vision of your soul.—Edna Lister, September 27, 1945.

Love lays its life down, and does not ask for revenge. Revenge sews you up and is followed by crucifixion.—Edna Lister, October 12, 1945.

Lifting the appetitive soul of self, eliminates a revenge motive, for you cannot pray out, melt or dissolve it in physical form. Only love can melt its root of self-pity and blame. You have freedom, but what good is a freedom that teaches nothing? Struggling and suffering is better than just to sit in joy and make no advance. Hard work and long hours will not hurt you. Self, pulling against the soul’s advance, can only damage or weaken the physical.—Edna Lister, October 14, 1945.

"I’ll show him" is a revenge idea.—Edna Lister, August 4, 1949.

See that resentment and revenge ideas do not show themselves in your voice. You may not lack firmness, be dictatorial or have a sharp voice.—Edna Lister, April 15, 1950.

Never descend to the basement to worship revenge idols.—Edna Lister, I Arise!, June 20, 1954.

You cannot build anything worthwhile on disloyalty or revenge ideas.—Edna Lister, June 3, 1955.

"Do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord."—Romans 12:17-19. "Do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath" means to give the place that anger fills to God. Instead of imagining revenge, surrender to healing.—Edna Lister, Spiritual Inventory, January 22, 1956.

Each has his own path back to God. Eliminate all blame, idle words, revenge, all trying to make the other person do what you want done. Pray for the perfection of the Almighty to fill them. Keep your coattails clean.—Edna Lister, July 20, 1956.

Entities follow a person who has a buried revenge motive.—Edna Lister, October 18, 1956.

It is devil worship to put another on a pedestal of hate, revenge, jealousy or criticism.—Edna Lister, September 30, 1957.

You take revenge for past hurts on loved ones with your tone of voice.—Edna Lister, February 6, 1958.

A simple-minded saccharine voice, which is usually a cover-up for a desire for revenge or retaliation, a pose concocted to hide subconscious harshness or hidden violence.—Edna Lister, As the World Sees Me, June 22, 1958.

"Agree with your adversary quickly" is your Pandora’s box. When someone else’s key fits your lock to open it, out pops your negativity to join his. Each has some revenge motive in his Pandora’s box, which makes him happy to see another pay a debt.—Edna Lister, A Charted Heaven, October 21, 1958.

Those who look for people who sin, ready to pin the record of sin on their coattails, have blame and judgment traits and revenge motives.—Edna Lister, Visualization, May 17, 1959.

Creature consciousness, which is just a step above the animal kingdom, dedicates itself to negativity and revenge, saying, "I’ll remember this! I will never forgive you."—Edna Lister, Jesus’ Seven Last Words, June 7, 1959.

Lift the revenge idea. Retaliation is often a cover-up for a bruised heart.—Edna Lister, December 14, 1959.

To be impersonal in your love means to love because the love of God possesses you so fully, that it must press forth as you, yet forever pouring more on everyone, even those who despitefully use you.—Edna Lister, June 6, 1960.

Cancer often comes from anger, criticism, envy, condemnation or revenge.—Edna Lister, June 27, 1960.

When you allow people to hurt or grieve you, you live by the old Mosaic law of "an eye for an eye," revenge. This is where we all went wrong before.—Edna Lister, Your Contact With Cosmic Power, October 8, 1961.

"You’ll be sorry" is a revenge idea.—Edna Lister, December 10, 1961.

Revenge is the opposite of forgiveness.—Edna Lister, Metaphysical Correspondences, May 29, 1962.

A soul can regress if he wants to show his parents "what for."—Edna Lister, Earth’s Final Age, July 16, 1963.

When you live by human nature, the greatest alibi on earth, you live by instinctive intelligence, where you retaliate, and lash out in revenge and frustration.—Edna Lister, God as Principle Applied Under Logic and Reason, November 5, 1963.

Light penetrates egotism and self-satisfaction, and points right into any past hidden treachery. Your Guards "cushion" you when you release enough Light to cause revenge ideas in others.—Edna Lister, October 23, 1964.

Trouble with the gallbladder represents venom, envy and revenge.—Edna Lister, November 13, 1964.

A mother who says, "Wait, my dear, you’ll experience this some day," is expressing a revenge motive. To discipline children, use firmness without venom or revenge, and they come through.—Edna Lister, February 4, 1965.

You will be searched and tried until all your words follow the vision of your soul with the "old," which knocks others down, made into Light. Your words must be cleansed, for you must lift ugly "revenge" and "retaliation," or allowing yourself to judge the other fellow. Be sure your words are only those the soul speaks.—Edna Lister, September 15, 1968.

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Stories That Illustrate Revenge and Retaliation

Herodias’ Revenge Against John: Now King Herod heard of [Jesus], for his name was spread abroad:) and he said, That John the Baptist was risen from the dead, and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him. Others said, That it is Elias. And others said, That it is a prophet, or as one of the prophets. But when Herod heard thereof, he said, It is John, whom I beheaded: he is risen from the dead. For Herod himself had sent forth and laid hold upon John, and bound him in prison for Herodias’ sake, his brother Philip’s wife: for he had married her. For John had said unto Herod, It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother’s wife. Therefore Herodias had a quarrel against him, and would have killed him; but she could not: For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly. And when a convenient day was come, that Herod on his birthday made a supper to his lords, high captains, and chief estates of Galilee; and when the daughter of the said Herodias came in, and danced, and pleased Herod and them that sat with him, the king said unto the damsel, Ask of me whatsoever thou wilt, and I will give it thee. And he sware unto her, Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of my kingdom. And she went forth, and said unto her mother, What shall I ask? And she said, The head of John the Baptist. And she came in straightway with haste unto the king, and asked, saying, I will that thou give me by and by in a charger the head of John the Baptist. And the king was exceeding sorry; yet for his oath’s sake, and for their sakes which sat with him, he would not reject her. And immediately the king sent an executioner, and commanded his head to be brought: and he went and beheaded him in the prison, and brought his head in a charger, and gave it to the damsel: and the damsel gave it to her mother. And when his disciples heard of it, they came and took up his corpse, and laid it in a tomb.—Mark 6:14-29.

God’s Vengeance Is Love: Saul began his career of revenge and retaliation against the early Christian sect by approving the stoning of the apostle, Stephen.

Saul was consenting unto his [Stephen’s] death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.—Acts 8:1-2.

And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, and desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink. And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, and hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight. Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake. And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized. And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.—Acts 9:1-20.

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New Testament on Revenge and Retaliation

Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.—Matthew 5:43-45.

Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.—Romans 12:17-21.

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To exact revenge is playing God.—Genesis 50:19.

You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself.—Leviticus 19:18.

To [the Lord] belong vengeance and recompense.—Deuteronomy 32:35.

Thus says the Lord God: Because the Philistines dealt vengefully and took vengeance with a spiteful heart, to destroy because of the old hatred, therefore thus says the Lord God: I will stretch out My hand against the Philistines, and I will cut off the Cherethites and destroy the remnant of the seacoast. I will execute great vengeance on them with furious rebukes; and they shall know that I am the Lord, when I lay My vengeance upon them.—Ezekiel 25:15-17.

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Edna Miriam Lister
1884 – 1971
The original Christian Pioneering Mystic,
Platonist philosopher, American Idealist, Founder, Society of the Universal Living Christ, minister, teacher, author, wife, and mother.

Edna Lister

Etymology of revenge: Old French revengier: re- + vengier, to take revenge, from Latin vindicare, to avenge, from vindex, avenger.

Etymology of retaliation: Late Latin retaliare "pay back in kind," from re‑ "back" + talio "exaction of payment in kind."

Revenge and retaliation are sins.


Harper, Douglas. Online Etymology Dictionary, 2024.

The Holy Bible. King James Version (KJV).

The Oxford English Dictionary: Compact Ed., 2 vols. E.S.C. Weiner, ed. Oxford University Press, 1971.