"VENGEANCE IS MINE AND I WILL REPAY", saith the Lord.
As man is a social animal, created by God to live with his fellows in groups of various kinds and sizes, from the smallest (the family) to the largest (the nation), he contracts certain duties and obligations towards others that are vital to the welfare of the whole community.
FAILURE to fulfil duties involves in justice, a forfeiture of rights. This is obvious when a man's failure does such harm to one or more of his fellow-men that it constitutes a crime. Punitive action must be taken not merely to punish the offender but as a warning to deter others from doing the same.
So it is the community, in its own interest to preserve law and order for all, that takes over from the individual the task of publicly judging an offence, for it is an axiom that not only must justice he done, but it must be seen to be done.
Purely private action by the offended against the offender can so easily descend to the level of revenge and although. as Bacon put it, "Revenge is a wild kind of justice," the danger lies in just that, in its becoming wild, No human justice can ever be perfect because a judge, however objective he desires to be. can never fully assess the motives of the wrong-doer or the innumerable influences of heredity and environment that may lessen a man's guilt.
Only God can read hearts. That is why He reserves vengeance to Himself, And because God knows the precise extent of our guilt and bow much allowance can be made, His justice is far less to be feared than man's..
in any case for the Christian, the old law of revenge ("An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth") was put right out of court by our Lord, who substituted for it, not a mere negative attitude to injustice but a positive law of .charity towards the wrong-doer. ,
"L"' your enemies, do good to those who hate you, pray for those who persecute and insult you."
That is easier said than done, for revenge is sweet. But sweeter still to the cars of God is the prayer of the Redeemer which we must make ours: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."