Similar to the way people become addicted to alcohol, drugs, or gambling, they may also become addicted to seeking retribution against their perceived enemies. It’s called revenge addiction. It reminds me of what my mom used to say when I’d come to her complaining over and over again about the same person. She’d say, “Sheila, there’s not a thing you can do about it! Some people are just addicted to controversy.” 

Is this why some people cannot control their impulsive reactions to imagined or real insults?

Such vengeful thoughts and behaviors cause harm to oneself as well as to others. However, even the consequence of harm to others doesn’t seem to stop the vengeful behavior, especially when protected by the anonymity of the internet.

Revenge addiction spreads from person to person. When seeking validation for being wronged, the addict infects others with a desire to seek payback with a vengeance. Thus, the craving for retaliation is amplified, distorted, and stoked. Vindictiveness becomes the revenge addict’s primary focus and insidious desire.

Jesus has some words to say about this. He asks us to stop dabbling in such a drug that leads to our own destruction and halt the cycle of grievance and retaliation. How? By the seemingly impossible way of loving our enemies. Ouch! That hurts!

Are you a partaker in “revenge addiction?”

You have learned that they were told, ‘Eye for eye, tooth for tooth.’ But what I tell you is this: Do not set yourself against the man who wrongs you.

Matthew 5:38-39

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