Trying to get revenge on an abuser is like trying to teach a fish to climb a tree
I used to lay awake at night thinking of ways to make X suffer; to punish him for his abuse. I talked about this a bit in the I left him because I loved him post. How could I make him know how much he’d hurt me? How could I get revenge? I didn’t want to commit a crime, but I wanted to really tell him off, or find a way to make him sorry for hurting me.
And I had no peace.
No scenario ever would work in my mind. I always knew he’d get me back and because I love and trust Christ, I’ve always known that it’s NOT my place to make him pay.
Romans 12:17-19 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
So in the first place, vengeance is God’s. It’s not my job to make anyone suffer. I divorced X not to make him suffer, but to make us (the kids and me) safe. And because I loved him. I loved him enough to stand up and say that I would no longer go along with his charade. Nothing I did, nothing I do, is to hurt him or to punish him. Ever. I am not saying this to sound pious. This has only come about by faith and by trusting that God’s provision and His ways are best, not because I conjured up an ability to stop wanting payback.
In the second place, this is essential for my sanity. I cannot function, I cannot be healthy as long as I am trying to make X learn anything. It would be like trying to teach a fish to climb a tree. X doesn’t have a healthy conscience and therefore he isn’t equipped to learn anything from this! In his mind this will always be my fault for overreacting and being unreasonable and going “crazy” and I will always have ruined our wonderful life and Christmas and the children’s birthdays and Tuesdays… There’s no getting around that. He will never ever see it differently unless he first falls on his knees and seeks Christ and surrenders to Him. And I can’t make that happen.
What your abuser has done to you is wrong. The way he treats you is wrong. He isn’t doing these things because of you. You didn’t cause him to do any of this. He did this. His abuse caused this chasm between you. You are seeking a way to live in peace and to be healthy. That is right and good.
You can’t fix your abuser. You can’t teach him a thing. You can’t get vengeance or punish him. You can only get safe and get healthy. And in all you do, you will seek God’s glory. You are His and you can trust Him.