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Revenge Really Is Sweet

While seeking to better understand the nature of aggression, David Chester of Virginia Commonwealth University, along with Nathan DeWall of the University of Kentucky, started studying revenge. They discovered that a person who is insulted or socially rejected feels an emotional pain. The area in the brain associated with pain was most active in participants who went on to react with an aggressive response after feeling rejected. Chester said, “It’s tapping into an ancient … tendency to respond to threats and harm with aggressive retaliation.”

In a follow-up study he was surprised to find that emotional pain was intricately yoked with pleasure. That is, while rejection initially feels painful, it can quickly be masked by pleasure when presented with the opportunity to get revenge. It even activates the brain's known reward circuit, the nucleus accumbens. People who are provoked behave aggressively precisely because it can be a rewarding experience. Revenge really can be sweet.

Possible Preaching Angle:

In contrast to the desire of our old nature, God wants believers to forgive those who harm them, love their enemies, and pray for those who persecute them so that we show the world what God is like.

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